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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Report into the death of

Alexander Litvinenko

Chairman: Sir Robert Owen

January 2016

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Report into the death of

Alexander Litvinenko

Chairman: Sir Robert Owen

Presented to Parliament pursuant to Section 26 of the Inquiries Act 2005

Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed on 21 January 2016

HC 695

© Crown copyright 2016
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| Contents

Contents

Introductory
Part 1

Preface

7

Part 2

Introduction

9

Open narrative evidence
Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Alexander Litvinenko – his life in Russia and the
United Kingdom, his illness and death

13

Chapter 1

In Russia

13

Chapter 2

Leaving Russia

26

Chapter 3

In the United Kingdom

29

Chapter 4

Illness and death

33

Chapter 5

Scientific examination of Alexander Litvinenko’s body

45

Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

51

Chapter 1

Introduction

51

Chapter 2

Enemy of the Russian State?

52

Chapter 3

Work for UK intelligence agencies

63

Chapter 4

Work for the Mitrokhin Commission in Italy

68

Chapter 5

Work for the Spanish security services

72

Chapter 6

Private security work

74

Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

85

Chapter 1

Introduction

85

Chapter 2

The 2006 Russian laws

86

Chapter 3

Continued opposition to President Putin

92

3

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Part 6

Chapter 4

Did Alexander Litvinenko fall out with and/or attempt
to blackmail Boris Berezovsky?

94

Chapter 5

The Ivanov report

100

Chapter 6

The murder of Anna Politkovskaya

104

Chapter 7

British citizenship

106

Chapter 8

Alexander Litvinenko’s state of mind in October 2006

108

The polonium trail – events in October and
November 2006

109

Chapter 1

Introduction

109

Chapter 2

Introduction to the scientific evidence

110

Chapter 3

Dmitri Kovtun

113

Chapter 4

Visa applications

117

Chapter 5

Events in London 16-18 October

121

Chapter 6

Events in London 25-28 October

141

Chapter 7

Events in Hamburg 28 October – 1 November

148

Chapter 8

Events in London 31 October – 3 November

155

Closed evidence
Part 7

The closed evidence

181

Findings as to responsibility for death
Part 8

Who killed Alexander Litvinenko?

183

Chapter 1

Introduction

183

Chapter 2

Medical cause of death

184

Chapter 3

Where did Alexander Litvinenko ingest polonium 210
on 1 November 2006?

186

Chapter 4

Was there an earlier ingestion of polonium 210?

187

4

| Contents

Part 9

Chapter 5

Did Alexander Litvinenko poison himself?

189

Chapter 6

Who administered the poison?

192

Who directed the killing?

209

Chapter 1

Introduction

209

Chapter 2

Boris Berezovsky

210

Chapter 3

UK intelligence agencies

211

Chapter 4

Organised crime

212

Chapter 5

Mario Scaramella, Chechen groups, Alexander Talik

213

Chapter 6

Russian State responsibility – introduction

214

Chapter 7

Russian State responsibility – the source of the
polonium 210

216

Chapter 8

Russian State responsibility – motive and evidence of
similar deaths and killings

227

Chapter 9

Russian State responsibility – links between Andrey
Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun and the Russian State

234

Chapter 10

Russian State responsibility – events since Alexander
Litvinenko’s death

235

Chapter 11

Conclusions regarding Russian State responsibility

239

Chapter 12

Russian State responsibility – involvement of Nikolai
Patrushev and President Vladimir Putin

241

Conclusions
Part 10

Summary of conclusions

245

5

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Appendices

Appendix 1

The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

247

Appendix 2

Terms of Reference

265

Appendix 3

List of Issues

267

Appendix 4

Chronology

271

Appendix 5

Dramatis personae

283

Appendix 6

Abbreviations

295

Appendix 7

Restriction Notices and Orders

297

Appendix 8

Key documents

315

Appendix 9

List of witnesses

319

Appendix 10

List of Inquiry staff and counsel

323

Appendix 11

List of core participants and legal representatives

325

Appendix 12

Closed appendices

327

6

Part 1:

Preface

1.1

On 22 July 2014 the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP,
announced, in a written statement laid before the House of Commons, that an Inquiry
under the Inquiries Act 2005 was to be held into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
I was appointed to chair the Inquiry.

1.2

The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, upon which I was consulted prior to my
appointment, are to be found at Appendix 3 to this Report. I was invited by the
Secretary of State to complete the Inquiry by December 2015. I opened the Inquiry
on 31 July 2014. The oral hearings were completed on 31 July 2015, and my Report
was duly delivered to the Secretary of State in January 2016.

1.3

The Inquiry has been completed substantially within the budget prepared by the
secretariat, and adopted by the Secretary of State in setting a budget cap.

1.4

I am indebted to Counsel to the Inquiry, Robin Tam QC, Hugh Davies QC and Andrew
O’Connor QC, and to the Solicitor to the Inquiry, Martin Smith, and his assistant, Abigail
Scholefield, for their invaluable assistance in the collation, analysis and presentation
of the evidence, and in the preparation of this Report.

1.5

I must also record my appreciation of the work of the Inquiry secretariat, Lee Hughes
CBE, Secretary to the Inquiry, his deputy Frances Currie, Press Officer Mike Wicksteed
and Paralegal Amy Nicholls. They have organised the administration of the Inquiry in
a most efficient and professional manner.

1.6

I am indebted to the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, who authorised his
officers to continue to provide the investigative and evidential services that had been
provided to me as Assistant Coroner charged with the conduct of the inquest into the
death of Alexander Litvinenko following the establishment of the Inquiry. I place on
record my appreciation of the work of the officers of the Metropolitan Police Service
(MPS) who carried out an exemplary investigation into the death of Mr Litvinenko, and
who provided the greatest assistance to me in providing investigative and evidential
services in the course of the Inquiry. I should in particular pay tribute to the work
carried out by Commander Ball, Detective Inspector Craig Mascall, Detective Chief
Inspector Mike Jolly and all members of the Operation Avocet team.

1.7

I was greatly assisted by Solicitors and Counsel for the Core Participants who took
part in the Inquiry: Ben Emmerson QC, Adam Straw and Elena Tsirlina for Marina
and Anatoly Litvinenko; Richard Horwell QC, Saba Naqshbandi, Jenny Leonard and
Prit Mandair for the MPS; Neil Garnham QC, Robert Wastell, Paul Bishop and
Catherine Turtle for the Secretary of State; and David Evans QC, Alasdair Henderson
and Simon Ramsden for AWE plc.

1.8

My conclusions on the central issues in this Report are to be found at Parts 8, 9 and
10. Those Parts of the Report, and the conclusions they contain, are based on the
totality of the evidence that I have heard – that is, both the ‘open’ and the ‘closed’
evidence. The conclusions are mine and mine alone.

7

The Litvinenko Inquiry

8

Part 2:

Introduction

2.1

In August 2012, over three years ago, I was appointed to conduct what were then the
inquest proceedings concerning the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

2.2

I have described the procedural history of both the inquest and this Inquiry in some
detail at Appendix 1, but I propose shortly to summarise the position by way of
introduction.

2.3

The inquest proceedings into Mr Litvinenko’s death had been resumed by Dr Andrew
Reid, the then Coroner for Inner North London, in late 2011. A considerable amount
of work was undertaken in preparation for the inquest, both prior to and following my
appointment. However, the inquest proceedings ran into difficulties. In the end, and at
my request, the inquest was replaced by the Public Inquiry that I have now conducted.
The preparatory work was not wasted – almost all of it was simply carried over to the
Inquiry.

2.4

The difficulties with the inquest centred on the existence of sensitive government
documents that were relevant to the investigation that I was conducting. More
particularly, the documents raised an arguable case that the Russian State bore
responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death.

2.5

The law does not allow evidence to be taken in what are known as ‘secret’ or ‘closed’
sessions at an inquest. But the government material was so sensitive that it could
not be adduced in any form of public or ‘open’ session. The material was therefore
excluded from the inquest proceedings under the legal principle known as public
interest immunity.

2.6

It has always been my view that the question of possible Russian State responsibility
for Mr Litvinenko’s death is one of the most important issues arising from his death. It
was an issue that I had intended to investigate at the inquest, but it did not seem right
to me to investigate this issue in the knowledge that government material that was
of great relevance had been excluded – albeit that it had been excluded for a good
reason.

2.7

I therefore asked the Home Secretary to establish a Public Inquiry to replace the
inquest. The advantage of a Public Inquiry over the inquest was that the rules governing
an inquiry allow for sensitive evidence to be heard in closed session.

2.8

The Home Secretary initially refused to establish a Public Inquiry. She subsequently
agreed to do so after her refusal had been successfully challenged in the High Court
by Mr Litvinenko’s widow, Marina Litvinenko. I agreed to serve as the Chairman of the
Inquiry.

2.9

The Inquiry was formally set up on 31 July 2014. I was at that time a serving High
Court Judge; I retired from that post in September 2014.

2.10 The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference are to be found at Appendix 2 to this Report. In
broad terms, the issues that have been investigated by the Inquiry pursuant to the
Terms of Reference replicate the matters that I would have investigated at the inquest.
The issue of Russian State responsibility, in particular, has been fully examined. The
sensitive government material that was excluded from the inquest on the ground of
public interest immunity has been considered.
9

The Litvinenko Inquiry

2.11 The Inquiry sat to conduct open hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice on 34 days in
January, February, March and July 2015.
2.12 Closed hearings were also conducted.
2.13 As I trust the detail of this Report will demonstrate, I took evidence from a very wide
range of sources. The witnesses who gave evidence to the Inquiry included not only
Mr Litvinenko’s family, friends and business associates, but also medical professionals,
nuclear scientists, police officers and experts in fields as diverse as Russian history
and polygraphy.
2.14 Transcripts of the open hearings, together with the very considerable volume of
documentary evidence that I adduced, are available on the Inquiry website.
2.15 There were, however, several important witnesses from whom I did not hear.
2.16 Boris Berezovsky, who was a close friend of Mr Litvinenko and whom some have
blamed for his death, died himself in 2013. I did, however, have access to a large
quantity of documentary material – principally police witness statements and interview
transcripts which contain detailed accounts given by Mr Berezovsky regarding the
matters under investigation. I adduced all this material into evidence.
2.17 Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun, both of whom are wanted by the British authorities
for the murder of Mr Litvinenko, declined my invitation to give evidence to the Inquiry.
That is a matter of regret to me. Both men took some part in these proceedings.
Mr Lugovoy was represented for a time during the preparations for the inquest, but
declined to take any further part when the inquest was converted into an Inquiry.
Mr Kovtun made contact with the Inquiry towards the end of the scheduled hearings
and indicated that he wished to give evidence. He provided a witness statement and
arrangements were made for him to give oral evidence by videolink from Moscow. In
the end, however, he decided not to do so.
2.18 The decision was, of course, a matter for them. Since both men were out of the
jurisdiction I could not compel them to attend the Inquiry and give evidence. Their
decision not to give oral evidence means that I do not have the answers to the
questions that they would have been asked, and I have noted in the course of the
Report several points in the evidence that demand an explanation from them.
2.19 Finally on this point, I should emphasise that, in the end, the fact that Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun did not give oral evidence does not undermine the findings that I have
made about their involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death. The findings are clear. I am
entirely confident in making them.
2.20 As I have explained at paragraphs 122-123 of Appendix 1, in making findings of fact
I have adopted the ‘flexible and variable’ approach to the standard of proof that was
formulated by Sir William Gage in the Baha Mousa Inquiry. I add that where in this
Report I state that ‘I am sure’ I will have found a fact to the criminal standard. When I
use such expressions as ‘I find’ or ‘I am satisfied’ the standard of proof will have been
the ordinary civil standard of proof, namely the balance of probabilities. Where it is
obvious that I have found a fact but I have not used one of these terms, the standard
will have been the civil standard. All other expressions, such as a reference to a state
of affairs being ‘possible’ will not be a finding of fact, but will indicate my state of mind
in respect of the issue being considered.
10

Part 2 | Introduction

2.21 References in the footnotes such as ‘INQ123456’ or ‘HMG345678’ are to documents
that I have adduced in evidence and that can be found on the Inquiry website. A
reference such as ‘Mascall 30/83-92’ is to the hearing transcript, which is also available
on the website; that particular reference is to the evidence of Detective Inspector
Mascall on Day 30 of the hearings, at pages 83 to 92 of that day’s transcript.
2.22 The structure of this Report reflects the fact that I have received both open and closed
evidence relating to the issues that I must determine.
2.23 Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6 contain an analysis of the open evidence that I have
heard regarding Mr Litvinenko’s life in the United Kingdom and Russia; theories and
evidence as to who may have had a motive to kill him; the events of the final weeks
of his life, including the so called ‘polonium trail’; and the circumstances of his illness
and death.
2.24 Part 7 concerns the closed evidence that I have received. Because of the sensitivity
of this evidence, I do not anticipate that any of this Part (other than the introductory
section) will be published. This Part also contains the single recommendation that
I have made. Because the recommendation relates to the closed material, I do not
expect it to be published.
2.25 Part 8 and Part 9 contain my findings on the two linked questions of who killed
Mr Litvinenko and who directed his killing. Part 10 contains my final conclusions. The
analysis and conclusions in these Parts are founded on the totality of the evidence
that I have heard – that is, both the ‘open’ and the ‘closed’ evidence.
2.26 I have had the provisions of section 2 of the Inquiries Act 2005 very much in mind
in formulating my conclusions in this matter. The core factual findings that I have
made, which are summarised in Part 10, are those which I consider it necessary to
make in order to discharge my responsibility under paragraph 1(ii) of the Terms of
Reference to identify where responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death lies. I have no
power to determine any person’s civil or criminal liability and I have not done so.

11

The Litvinenko Inquiry

12

Part 3: Alexander Litvinenko – his life in
Russia and the United Kingdom, his
illness and death
Chapter 1:

In Russia

3.1

I received detailed evidence regarding the history of Alexander Litvinenko’s life in
Russia before he left to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) with his family in November
2000. Very little of this evidence was contentious and much is already in the public
domain. For example, a detailed account of Mr Litvinenko’s life in Russia is to be
found in Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko’s book Death of a Dissident, and I am
of course aware of other books that have been written about Mr Litvinenko’s life, such
as Martin Sixsmith’s The Litvinenko File and Alan Cowell’s The Terminal Spy.

3.2

Although many of these matters are well known, I have set them out here in outline
as they are of considerable contextual significance to the questions that I have been
charged with investigating. The events that took place during Mr Litvinenko’s life in
Russia, and in particular the last years before he left, cast a long shadow over his
life in the UK. Many of those who played a part in the events of the final weeks and
months of Mr Litvinenko’s life in 2006 were old friends and adversaries from his days
in Russia.

Childhood
3.3

Alexander Litvinenko was born on 4 December 1962 in the Russian city of Voronezh.
His parents, Walter and Nina Litvinenko, divorced when he was very young, and it
appears that his childhood, in consequence, was not easy. I heard that as a young
child Alexander spent periods of time living with his father and his father’s parents in
Nalchik in the North Caucasus, with his mother in Moscow and with an aunt in another
city called Morozovsk. When he was about 12 he returned to Nalchik to live with
his grandparents, with whom he spent the rest of his childhood.1 Nalchik is located
towards the south of the old USSR, in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. It is
close to Chechnya. This region and its people would later play an important part in
Mr Litvinenko’s life.

3.4

Both Mr Litvinenko’s parents remarried. His mother had a daughter, Svetlana, with
her new husband. Mr Litvinenko’s father, Walter, had three children with his new wife,
of whom the youngest was a son named Maxim.2 As we shall see, Maxim lived in Italy
later in his life, where he spent some time with his older half-brother Alexander.

3.5

Mr Litvinenko finished his schooling in 1980 at the age of 17. The evidence of Marina
Litvinenko (who of course had not yet met Mr Litvinenko at that time) was that he
applied to go to university, but did not get a place,3 and decided instead to go to
military college. He took that decision in part because he would have been required to
undertake military service at some point in any event. However, she said that he was
also influenced, even at that young age, by a desire to serve and defend his country.

1

Marina Litvinenko 3/19-20; INQ017734 (page 2 paragraph 6)
Marina Litvinenko 3/20-23
3
Marina Litvinenko 3/23-24
2

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

She said that he regarded his grandfather, who had fought in the Second World War,
as a model in this respect. I note this evidence because Mr Litvinenko’s sense of duty
to his country – initially to Russia and latterly also to the United Kingdom – is a strong
theme of the evidence that I heard about him.

Early military career
3.6

The military college that Mr Litvinenko attended was a training centre for Interior
Ministry forces, located in a city in North Ossetia then called Ordzhonikidze (now called
Vladikavkaz). It is about 80 miles from Nalchik – as Marina Litvinenko observed, not
too far in Russian terms. Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that he spent five years
training at Ordzhonikidze, graduating in or about 1985 as a lieutenant.

3.7

Mr Litvinenko then served in the Dzerzhinsky Division of the forces of the Interior
Ministry between 1985 and 1988. His duties appear to have included intelligence
work relating to the protection of trains carrying gold bullion. In 1988 Mr Litvinenko
was recruited to join what was then still called the Committee for State Security (KGB).
He underwent a period of intelligence training at a KGB facility in Siberia, and in 1991
was posted to KGB headquarters in Moscow.4

3.8

During this period, as well as securing professional advancement, Mr Litvinenko had
started a family. He married his first wife, Natalia, whilst he was still a student. His first
child, a son named Alexander, was born in January 1985.5 His daughter Sonya was
born in August 1991.

KGB officer
3.9

These were times of considerable instability in Russia. 1991, the year in which
Mr Litvinenko was posted to KGB headquarters in Moscow, saw the attempted
coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The KGB was dismantled in November 1991. A series of successor organisations
inherited much of its staff and took over responsibility for Russian internal security and
counterintelligence. Mr Litvinenko worked for each of these organisations throughout
this period. The last of these organisations, which was created in 1995 and which still
exists, was the Federal Security Service (FSB).

3.10 In 1991 Mr Litvinenko was assigned to the Economic Security and Organised Crime
Unit of what was then still the KGB. He continued to work in that department until
about 1994, when he was transferred to the Anti-Terrorism Department of what had
by then become the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK).6
3.11 The evidence I have heard is that one of the main focuses of Mr Litvinenko’s work
during this period was in combating organised crime. In her witness statement, Marina
Litvinenko refers, by way of example, to Mr Litvinenko investigating crimes that were
then being committed against wealthy Georgians who had moved to Moscow to
escape the civil war in their newly independent country. She describes Mr Litvinenko’s
part in saving the life of a 19 year old boy who had been kidnapped and ransomed for
4

Marina Litvinenko 3/24-25; INQ017734 (page 3 paragraph 7); there are some small points of difference
between this evidence and Mr Litvinenko’s own account, given without an interpreter at the first session of his
November 2006 police interviews – INQ002076 (page 3)
5
Marina Litvinenko 3/15 lines 14-16
6
Marina Litvinenko 3/27-29; 4/80

14

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

US$1 million. She stated; “I saw that Sasha gave himself to his job without reservation
and helped people who found themselves in difficulties.” 7
3.12 I heard that it was whilst working for the Economic Security and Organised Crime
Unit that Mr Litvinenko first began to investigate the activities of the Tambov criminal
group. This was an organised crime group based in St Petersburg. It was led by
Vladimir Kumarin, also known as Barsukov, and another man called Alexander
Malyshev. In the course of his investigations, Mr Litvinenko discovered evidence that
the Tambov group was engaged in smuggling heroin from Afghanistan via Uzbekistan
and St Petersburg to Western Europe. Even more significantly, he became convinced
that there was widespread collusion between the Tambov group and KGB officials,
including both Vladimir Putin and Nikolai Patrushev.
3.13 This was the start of what was to become one of Mr Litvinenko’s abiding concerns.
As we shall see, he continued to investigate and to seek to publicise links between
the KGB/FSB and organised crime both before and after he left Russia. Following his
arrival in the UK, he made these allegations in his book The Gang from the Lubyanka,
and also in the shorter essay The Uzbek File.8

Marriage to Marina Litvinenko
3.14 It was in June 1993, and as a result of another case on which he was working, that
Mr Litvinenko met his future wife Marina.
3.15 Marina Litvinenko has been an interested person and a core participant throughout
the life of, respectively, the inquest and Inquiry proceedings. As I have described at
paragraphs 46 and 50 of Appendix 1, it was her action in bringing a judicial review
against the Home Secretary (at considerable financial risk to herself) that resulted
in this Inquiry being established. Marina Litvinenko’s legal team has engaged with
both sets of proceedings in a most constructive manner, and I have been impressed
throughout by the dignity and composure that she has shown during what must have
been at times a deeply distressing process. Above all, she has demonstrated a quiet
determination to establish the true facts of her husband’s death that is greatly to be
commended. When she gave oral evidence before me, which she did over the course
of two days at the Inquiry hearings, I found her to be an impressive witness who
gave careful and considered responses to the questions that she was asked, many
concerning events that took place ten years and more ago.
3.16 In 1993 Marina Litvinenko was a dance teacher living in Moscow. She had been born
in Moscow in 1962 and had grown up and been educated there. She had studied at
university for five and a half years, graduating as an engineer economist, but by the
time that she graduated, she had already become heavily involved in dancing. On
leaving university she became a professional dancer. She married her dance partner
and for several years the couple took part in competitive ballroom dancing and also
worked as dance teachers. The marriage ended in 1989. She stopped competitive
dancing at that point, but carried on with her teaching job.9
3.17 Two of Marina Litvinenko’s friends from her dancing days, a couple, were receiving
demands for money and threats of violence from a former business associate. They
had reported the matter to the authorities and Mr Litvinenko was investigating the
7

INQ017734 (page 3 paragraph 8)
Goldfarb 26/28-35
9
Marina Litvinenko 3/3-6
8

15

The Litvinenko Inquiry

case. The couple got on well with Mr Litvinenko and invited him to a dinner at Marina’s
flat to celebrate her birthday in June 1993. Mr Litvinenko was still married to Natalia at
this time, but the marriage was in difficulties, and ended in divorce shortly thereafter.10
3.18 Mr Litvinenko and Marina began a relationship. Their son Anatoly was born in June
1994. Alexander and Marina Litvinenko married in October 1994.11

Developing friendship with Boris Berezovsky
3.19 It was at about the same time – 1994 – that Mr Litvinenko first met and started to
develop what was to become a close friendship with Boris Berezovsky. Mr Berezovsky
is one of the key figures in the events that form the subject matter of this Inquiry, and
it is appropriate to say a few words of introduction about him at this point.
3.20 Boris Berezovsky was born in Moscow in 1946. He was a mathematician by training.
For the first part of his life he worked as a government scientist; he also conducted
research and published academic articles. Mr Berezovsky became an extremely
successful businessman during the liberalisation of Russia’s internal market, first
under President Gorbachev and then under President Yeltsin, with whom he had a
close relationship. His first business, which he founded in the late 1980s, was a car
dealership named LogoVAZ, but his business interests diversified into broadcasting,
airlines and the oil industry.
3.21 During the 1990s Mr Berezovsky acquired both great wealth and considerable political
influence. He was one of the foremost of the so called ‘oligarchs’ of that period. At
the end of that decade, Mr Berezovsky apparently played a role in facilitating the rise
to power of Vladimir Putin. However, he fell out with Mr Putin shortly after the latter’s
election as President in March 2000. He left Russia permanently at the end of 2000
and claimed asylum in the UK. Thereafter, Mr Berezovsky became a vociferous critic
of Mr Putin. Repeated attempts by Russia to secure his extradition were unsuccessful,
and Mr Berezovsky was granted asylum in the UK in 2003. He spent much of his
wealth in opposing President Putin’s regime, and in supporting others who did the
same – one of whom, as we shall see, was Mr Litvinenko.
3.22 When the inquest into Mr Litvinenko’s death was resumed in 2011, Mr Berezovsky was
granted interested person status. He was entitled to such status not least because, as
we shall see, allegations had been made that he had been involved in Mr Litvinenko’s
death. Those acting for Mr Berezovsky played a constructive part in the early stages
of the inquest proceedings, making submissions at directions hearings and disclosing
documentation. Mr Berezovsky’s involvement in these proceedings was, however, cut
short by his own death in March 2013.
3.23 Had Mr Berezovsky been alive at the time of the Inquiry hearings, he would undoubtedly
have been an important witness. Although I was not able to hear Mr Berezovsky
give oral evidence, I did adduce a substantial quantity of documentary evidence
emanating from and relating to him.12 It included statements given by Mr Berezovsky
to the Metropolitan Police team investigating Mr Litvinenko’s death and transcripts of
interviews. In considering this documentary evidence, I have of course taken account
of the fact that I did not have the benefit of hearing Mr Berezovsky’s account being
tested in oral evidence. I have also borne in mind the fact that Mrs Justice Gloster
10

INQ017734 (page 1 paragraph 1)
INQ017734 (page 2 paragraph 4)
12
Berezovsky 25/3-30
11

16

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

found Mr Berezovsky to be a highly unreliable witness in the proceedings that he
brought against Mr Roman Abramovich in the High Court in London.13 In fact (and in
contrast to the Abramovich case), a large proportion of Mr Berezovsky’s account has
been either uncontentious or well supported by the evidence of others. In reaching my
conclusion on the question of Mr Berezovsky’s alleged involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s
death (see Part 9), I have been able to rely on a considerably wider array of evidence
than Mr Berezovsky’s own (untested) denial.
3.24 Returning to Moscow in 1994, the account that Mr Berezovsky gave of his first
meetings with Mr Litvinenko was in the following terms:
“I first met Alexander Litvinenko, also known as Sasha Litvinenko, in 1994 when he
was an FSB officer for the Russian security services (KGB). He came to my offices
as he had orders to look into the workings of my company. It was not to investigate
me personally, but an investigation into how my business was operating. This
was because at the time the FSB were trying to establish how Russia was being
transformed.
In June 1994 I was subject to a terror attack against me in Moscow. It was a car
bomb. When I left my office the car exploded. My driver was killed, my bodyguard
and I were both injured and I spent two weeks in hospital in Switzerland. This
incident resulted in Litvinenko and I becoming close friends.” 14
3.25 Marina Litvinenko had only known Mr Litvinenko for a year in June 1994, but in her
oral evidence she recalled that he had been involved in investigating the assassination
attempt against Mr Berezovsky, which she described as having been front page news
at the time.15 She also stated that Mr Litvinenko had been ordered at that time to (as
she put it in her witness statement) “maintain regular contact” with Mr Berezovsky.16
The precise scope and purpose of this duty was not clear – Marina Litvinenko did not
think, for example, that he was acting as a bodyguard. It may be that this was simply
a continuation of the attempts by the FSB (or FSK as it was at this time) to keep tabs
on Mr Berezovsky, which he described in the first of the two paragraphs quoted from
his statement above.
3.26 Marina Litvinenko recalled that at that time Mr Litvinenko had a number of meetings
with Mr Berezovsky, and that he accompanied Mr Berezovsky on a trip to Switzerland
in 1995. Her evidence was that Mr Litvinenko travelled on that occasion on a diplomatic
passport provided by the FSB; so it would appear that the trip had the blessing of his
superiors.
3.27 Putting the matter shortly, the evidence seems to support Mr Berezovsky’s assertion
that the assassination attempt in June 1994 was the start of the process by which he
and Mr Litvinenko became close friends.
3.28 A second important incident in the development of the relationship between the two
men took place in March 1995, following the murder in Moscow of a man named
Vlad Listyev. Mr Listyev was at that time the most popular TV presenter in Russia; he
was also the head of the independent television station ORT, which was controlled
by Mr Berezovsky. Marina Litvinenko’s account of this episode was that police came
13

Berezovsky v Abramovich [2012] EWHC 2463 (Comm), paragraphs 97-112
Berezovsky 25/6-7
15
Marina Litvinenko 3/35-36
16
INQ017734 (page 3 paragraph 9)
14

17

The Litvinenko Inquiry

to Mr Berezovsky’s office to arrest him for Mr Listyev’s murder; Mr Berezovsky got a
message to Mr Litvinenko, who came to the office and prevented the police from taking
Mr Berezovsky away. She explained that both Mr Berezovsky and Mr Litvinenko feared
that Mr Berezovsky might be murdered in police custody had he been arrested. In
Mr Berezovsky’s account of this incident, he said that Mr Litvinenko had taken out his
gun and said to the police, “If you try to catch him now I’ll kill you.” 17 Marina Litvinenko
emphasised that Mr Litvinenko’s intervention on behalf of Mr Berezovsky had been
authorised by at least one of his superiors, namely General Anatoly Trofimov, who
was then the head of the Moscow regional directorate of the FSK.
3.29 I am clearly not in a position to make any findings regarding the rights and wrongs
of this affair, including as to whether Mr Berezovsky was in fact involved in any
way in Mr Listyev’s death (a subject which I am aware remains controversial). Nor
is the determination of such matters within the proper scope of this Inquiry. What I
think can be said, which certainly is of relevance for present purposes, is that this
episode marked a further stage in the developing friendship between Mr Litvinenko
and Mr Berezovsky. More than that, it put Mr Berezovsky in Mr Litvinenko’s debt. As
Marina Litvinenko put it during her oral evidence, “After that, Boris Berezovsky said
many times Sasha saved his life, and he was very grateful.” 18 The repayment of that
debt is an important backdrop to the story of Mr Litvinenko’s subsequent escape from
Russia to the UK, and his life here.

Involvement in the First Chechen War
3.30 The First Chechen War started at the end of 1994. By this time, Mr Litvinenko was
attached to what Marina Litvinenko described as the Anti-Terrorist Centre of the FSK.
3.31 It would appear that he had considerable involvement in the Chechen conflict, although
not for the main part in combat operations. Marina Litvinenko described Mr Litvinenko
making frequent operational trips during this period to Nalchik, the city where he had
grown up. Nalchik was situated close to but away from the fighting in Chechnya, and
in her written evidence Marina Litvinenko stated that Mr Litvinenko, “did analytical
work and ran agents from the FSB headquarters in Nalchik”. She added that he was
well suited to that type of work, knowing as he did the customs and traditions of the
region from his childhood.19
3.32 This account tallies well with the evidence received by the Inquiry from
Akhmed Zakayev.
3.33 By the time of Mr Litvinenko’s death in 2006, he and Mr Zakayev were neighbours in
London and close friends. A decade earlier they had been on opposite sides of the
conflict in Chechnya. Mr Zakayev’s evidence was that he was at that time a senior
official in the Republic of Ichkeria, as the breakaway Chechen republic was then
known. Following the death of the Chechen President Ozhokhar Dudaev in April 1996,
his widow left Chechnya and was then detained by Russian authorities in Nalchik.
Mr Zakayev explained in his oral evidence to the Inquiry that the Chechen leadership
had been concerned at that time to discover which FSB officer was interviewing
Mrs Dudaev; he said that they had established through informants that she was
being interrogated in Nalchik by Mr Litvinenko, who was using the pseudonym
17

Berezovsky 25/7
Marina Litvinenko 3/40 lines 24-25
19
INQ017734 (page 4 paragraph 12)
18

18

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

Alexander Volkov. Mr Zakayev added that when, years later, the two men met on
friendly terms, Mr Litvinenko had confirmed to him that he had indeed interviewed
Mrs Dudaev in Nalchik at that time.20
3.34 Mr Litvinenko’s immediate superior in the anti-terrorist unit at this time was a man
named Alexander Gusak. Marina Litvinenko remembered him well. She said that he
and Mr Litvinenko had had “a very turbulent relationship”. The difficulties between the
two men appear to have arisen from their very different styles of work. Mr Litvinenko
had, she said, a careful and precise approach to his work, whereas Mr Gusak, in
Marina Litvinenko’s words, “was more like a hero man and fighting man, and he didn’t
like to do some job in a very precise and a very correct way”. Although they clashed
at work, it appears that the two men got on well on a personal level – Mr Gusak
attended Alexander and Marina Litvinenko’s wedding in 1994 and in 1996/7 the
two families built dachas close to each other, making them neighbours.21 Mr Gusak
was subsequently to play an important role in the events that led to Alexander and
Marina Litvinenko’s flight from Russia.
3.35 Although Mr Litvinenko’s principal involvement in the hostilities in Chechnya appears
to have consisted of conducting intelligence operations from FSB headquarters in
Nalchik, the evidence is that there was at least one occasion when he took part in
combat.
3.36 I am aware of allegations reported in at least two of the books that have been written
about Mr Litvinenko’s life and death to the effect that he physically mistreated prisoners
whilst serving in Chechnya. It would appear that the source of those allegations was
Mr Gusak, who, at least by the time he made them, had a declared animosity towards
Mr Litvinenko. I have no further evidence one way or the other regarding these
allegations.22
3.37 As I have said, the evidence is that Mr Litvinenko did spend at least some time on
combat operations inside Chechnya. He was present at the siege of Pervomayskoye
in January 1996. Marina Litvinenko recalled that Mr Litvinenko sustained frostbite to
his hands and feet at this time. She also stated that Mr Litvinenko’s experiences at
Pervomayskoye caused him to start to change his views about the rights and wrongs
of the Chechen War. She referred in particular to Mr Litvinenko interrogating a 17 year
old Chechen prisoner and realising that all the pupils in the boy’s class had taken up
arms. She said that he began to compare the Chechen defence of their country with
the heroic actions of the Russian army, including his grandfather, in the Second World
War.23 Mr Zakayev also recalled this incident, which he had discussed years later with
Mr Litvinenko in London. He said that it was at this time that Mr Litvinenko, “started to
understand what the Chechen people wanted and what they’re fighting for.” 24

Department for the Investigation and Prevention of
Organised Crime
3.38 In the summer of 1997, Mr Litvinenko was transferred within the FSB to the Department
for the Investigation and Prevention of Organised Crime, known as URPO.
20

Zakayev 26/137-138; 26/140-141
Marina Litvinenko 3/41-43
22
Sixsmith The Litvinenko File (pages 78-79); Cowell The Terminal Spy (pages 103-104)
23
Marina Litvinenko 3/31-35; INQ017734 (page 4 paragraph 13)
24
Zakayev 26/142 lines 9-11
21

19

The Litvinenko Inquiry

3.39 The evidence that I have heard is that URPO was a secret unit. Its offices, for
example, were not situated at the ‘Lubyanka’, the main FSB headquarters. In her
witness statement, Marina Litvinenko stated that URPO members, “were tasked with
special operations, which were on the borderline of legality”.25 In his police interview
Mr Litvinenko himself put the matter rather more directly. He described URPO as a
“top secret department of KGB” whose role was, “killing political and high business
men… without verdict.” 26
3.40 When he moved to URPO, Mr Litvinenko was put in charge of a section of some eight
or ten officers.27 Some of these men, in particular Victor Shebalin and Andrei Ponkin,
were to play an important role in the events that brought Mr Litvinenko’s career in the
FSB to an end. Mr Litvinenko found that his immediate superior in his new unit was
to be Alexander Gusak, with whom he had served in Chechnya. The head of URPO
was a man named General Khokholkov, and his deputy was Captain Alexander
Kamyshnikov. The overall head of the FSB at the time was Nikolay Kovalyev.28

Order to kill Boris Berezovsky
3.41 Marina Litvinenko stated that, by the end of 1997, Mr Litvinenko had been tasked
with the conduct of a number of URPO operations that he regarded as unlawful. This
account is supported by claims that Mr Litvinenko himself made at the time.
3.42 Marina Litvinenko referred to three operations in particular.
3.43 The first concerned a former FSB officer named Mikhail Trepashkin. Mr Trepashkin
was a critic of the FSB, as Mr Litvinenko was subsequently to become. In 1997
Mr Trepashkin had recently resigned from his post and had brought proceedings
against the FSB. The evidence before me was that Mr Litvinenko and his URPO
section were ordered to assault Mr Trepashkin, and to take his bag and his FSB
identity card away from him.29 Mr Trepashkin and Mr Litvinenko subsequently became
friends, and I will refer to him further below.
3.44 The second of these operations concerned a man named Umar Dzhabrailov.
Mr Dzhabrailov was a wealthy Chechen businessman living in Moscow. In his book The
Gang from the Lubyanka Mr Litvinenko described his section being tasked: “to kidnap
a prominent businessman Umar Dzhabrailov [to get money] to pay ransom for our
officers in Chechen captivity…”.30 The book went on to assert, and Marina Litvinenko
also made this point in her oral evidence, that Mr Litvinenko and his section were
authorised to shoot policemen who had been tasked with guarding Mr Dzhabrailov if
it became necessary in the course of the kidnapping.31
3.45 The last, and most important, of these three operations related to Mr Berezovsky. In
legal documents that he filed in Russia in 1998, Mr Litvinenko was very clear about
what he had been told to do on this occasion. Referring to “the order to assassinate
B.A. Berezovsky”, Mr Litvinenko stated: “I was instructed by A.P. Kamyshnikov to
physically exterminate Berezovsky and considered his words an order. I disobeyed
the order only because it was an illegal order.” 32
25

INQ017734 (page 5 paragraph 15)
INQ002076 (page 4)
27
Marina Litvinenko 3/44 lines 19-20
28
Goldfarb 27/108 lines 8-15
29
Marina Litvinenko 3/47-50
30
BLK000253 (page 3)
31
BLK000253 (page 4); Marina Litvinenko 3/50-51
32
HMG000115
26

20

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

3.46 Marina Litvinenko’s witness statement describes Mr Litvinenko being tasked with
“looking into the possibility of assassinating Berezovsky” 33 and in her initial oral
evidence before me she stated that she did not believe that Mr Kamyshnikov had
given Mr Litvinenko a formal instruction to kill Mr Berezovsky; the substance of the
exchange, in her view, was limited to Mr Kamyshnikov asking Mr Litvinenko whether
he could kill Mr Berezovsky.34 In later questioning, Marina Litvinenko took a firmer line,
accepting the proposition from her counsel that Mr Litvinenko understood that he had
received, “an unequivocal instruction to commit an act of murder by his superior within
the FSB in a secret, unaccountable unit”.35
3.47 I do not regard these distinctions as being of great importance. I am not in a position
to make any findings about the precise terms in which Mr Kamyshnikov may have
discussed the killing of Mr Berezovsky with Mr Litvinenko and his section in late 1997.
And that issue, moreover, is not of central importance to this Inquiry. Of much greater
importance for my purposes are the decision that Mr Litvinenko took to expose what
he regarded as an FSB plot to murder Mr Berezovsky, and the events that were then
triggered – events that, as we shall see, may have contributed to Mr Litvinenko’s
death in London nine years later.

Whistleblower
3.48 The evidence I heard was that Mr Litvinenko and his colleagues, including Mr Gusak,
were unhappy with the orders they had been given. They were particularly concerned
about the orders relating to Mr Berezovsky. They took a number of steps in response,
the culmination of which was the well known press conference on 17 November 1998,
in which Mr Litvinenko and others publicly denounced the FSB in front of the world’s
media. Before dealing with the press conference, I will briefly outline the evidence that
I have heard regarding the escalating events that led up to it.
3.49 Marina Litvinenko stated that Mr Litvinenko’s first act, after considering what to do
for several weeks, was to go to see Mr Berezovsky, and tell him about the orders
that he had received. It seems that Mr Berezovsky did not initially take the matter
seriously, but this changed when Mr Litvinenko went to see him again (in March 1998),
accompanied by some of the officers in his section.36
3.50 Acting on Mr Berezovsky’s advice, Mr Litvinenko and his colleagues raised their
complaints with Evgeny Savostianov, who was at that time President Yeltsin’s Deputy
Chief of Staff. He referred the case to the Military Prosecution Service, and told them
that they should file an official complaint.37
3.51 Mr Litvinenko and his colleagues were concerned at what steps might be taken against
them. There were discussions as to what to do. The men decided to make a video
record of their allegations, which could be released, as Marina Litvinenko put it in her
oral evidence “in case somebody will be arrested or, worse, somebody will be killed”.38
Mr Berezovsky arranged for this to be done by means of a filmed interview conducted
by Sergei Dorenko, who was a well known broadcaster at his television station ORT.
The interview was filmed during the night of 19 April 1998 at Mr Berezovsky’s dacha.
33

INQ017734 (page 6 paragraph 16(c))

Marina Litvinenko 3/53 lines 20-22; 3/55 lines 4-9

35
Marina Litvinenko 4/85 lines 10-14

36
Marina Litvinenko 3/55-56; INQ017734 (page 6 paragraph 18)

37
INQ017734 (pages 6-7 paragraph 19)

38
Marina Litvinenko 3/69 lines 22-23

34

21

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Marina Litvinenko was there. The interview (which featured Mr Litvinenko, Andrei
Ponkin and Alexander Gusak) was not, in the event, broadcast until November 1998,
shortly after the press conference.39
3.52 In his account in The Gang from the Lubyanka, Mr Litvinenko stated that by this
stage both he and Mr Berezovsky had spoken separately to Mr Kovalyev, the head of
the FSB, about the order to kill Mr Berezovsky. Mr Litvinenko recorded that after his
meeting he heard from Mr Gusak that Mr Kovalyev was “very unhappy” that he had
told Mr Berezovsky about the order: “He said it was – a betrayal of the interests of the
security services. To go and give everything to a stranger.” 40
3.53 On Marina Litvinenko’s account, Mr Kovalyev summoned Mr Litvinenko and all the
URPO officers who supported his claims to his office on the day after the filming with
Mr Dorenko had taken place. He demanded that they withdraw their allegations. They
refused to do so.41
3.54 Mr Litvinenko next followed the advice of Mr Savostianov and filed an official complaint
with the Military Prosecution Service. Some of the official papers relating to that complaint
are in evidence before me. They show that Mr Litvinenko complained of having received
illegal orders relating to Mr Trepashkin, Mr Dzhabrailov and Mr Berezovsky.42 It would
appear that at this stage both Mr Litvinenko and his colleagues and URPO commanders,
including General Khokholkov, were suspended from the FSB. In May and June 1998
Mr Litvinenko gave evidence to the Military Prosecution Service.43
3.55 On 7 June 1998 President Yeltsin dismissed Mr Kovalyev as head of the FSB and
replaced him with Vladimir Putin. Mr Berezovsky arranged for Mr Litvinenko to meet
Mr Putin, in order that he could tell him what he knew about FSB corruption and
unlawful conduct. The meeting between the two men took place in or about July 1998.
Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko had not been confident that
Mr Putin would be an agent of change within the FSB. His view, she said, was
that Mr Putin was inexperienced, and also probably mixed up in criminal activity
himself from his days in St Petersburg.44
3.56 Mr Litvinenko described his first and only meeting with Mr Putin in The Gang from the
Lubyanka. He said:
“He came out from behind the desk… to greet me. Apparently, he wanted to show
an open, likeable personality. We, operatives, have a special style of behaviour.
We do not bow to each other, do without pleasantries – and so everything is clear.
Just look into each other’s eyes and it becomes clear, do you trust the person or
not. And I immediately had the impression that he is not sincere. He looked not like
an FSB director, but a person who played the director.” 45
3.57 The evidence was that in October 1998 the URPO investigation by the Military
Prosecution Service was closed. The conclusion of the investigation was that no

39

INQ017734 (page 7 paragraphs 20-21)

BLK000253 (pages 7-8)

41
INQ017734 (pages 7-8 paragraph 23)

42
HMG000115

43
INQ017734 (page 8 paragraph 24)

44
Marina Litvinenko 3/71-74; INQ017734 (pages 8-9 paragraphs 27-29)

45
BLK000253 (page 10)

40

22

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

crimes had been committed. Put shortly, as I understand it, the allegations made by
Mr Litvinenko and the others had been rejected.46
3.58 Although Marina Litvinenko did not recall this when giving oral evidence,47 the
documents before me indicate that Mr Litvinenko almost immediately made a formal
application to have the investigation reopened.48
3.59 On 13 November 1998 an open letter from Mr Berezovsky to Mr Putin was published
in the Russian media. A copy of this letter is in evidence. The letter detailed the
allegations made by Mr Litvinenko and the others and was critical of what it described
as an attempted cover up. In the final paragraphs of the letter, Mr Berezovsky made
a direct appeal to Mr Putin:
“Vladimir Vladimirovich, no doubt, the legacy you received from your predecessors
is not easy. Criminals and corrupted functionaries at different levels, even in your
institution, are hitting those who do not want to go back to the pigsty. The wave
of criminal terror is rising in the country. Mafia and the ‘red-brown’ elements are
striving for power. They do not understand that there is no place for people like
them in a free country where democracy is firmly secured by law.
I do not consider the facts and problems raised in my letter isolated, I see a
tendency here and this tendency is mortally dangerous for Russia.
I am asking you to use the power vested on you to secure the constitutional order.” 49
3.60 Mr Berezovsky’s open letter made a clearly worded request to Mr Putin to reform
the FSB. A few days later, on 17 November 1998, Mr Litvinenko went public with
his criticisms of the FSB at a press conference in Moscow that was attended by the
world’s media. It appears likely that the press conference was part of a larger reform
strategy directed by Mr Berezovsky.
3.61 The press conference was held at the RIA Novosti international news agency in
Moscow. Mr Litvinenko appeared before the press without a mask and was the main
speaker. Also present and unmasked was Mr Trepashkin, with whom Mr Litvinenko
had by this time struck up a friendship.50 Four of Mr Litvinenko’s fellow officers from
URPO, including Mr Shebalin and Mr Ponkin, also appeared, wearing either skiing
masks or sunglasses. Marina Litvinenko described the press conference in the
following terms:
“Never in the history of the Russian security services has the FSB experienced
such a public exposure. [Mr Litvinenko] and the others talked about corruption,
criminalisation of the FSB and the fact that the system that was set up to protect
people was turning into the system from which people needed to be protected.
They also aired the details of extrajudicial acts that the FSB conspired to undertake
against Trepashkin, Dzhabrailov and Berezovsky.” 51

46

Marina Litvinenko 3/74-75; INQ017734 (page 9 paragraph 30)

Marina Litvinenko 3/75 lines 10-12

48
HMG000115

49
BER002661

50
INQ017734 (page 9 paragraph 30)

51
INQ017734 (page 10 paragraph 33)

47

23

The Litvinenko Inquiry

3.62 The press conference received widespread publicity in the broadcast and print media.
3.63 At the time of the press conference, Yuri Felshtinsky was in Moscow, undertaking
preparatory work on a biography of Boris Berezovsky. In his evidence he emphasised
that Mr Berezovsky and Mr Putin were still friends at this point. He said that
Mr Berezovsky was, “hoping that he will use Putin in order to make major changes
within the FSB”. According to Mr Felshtinsky, it was Mr Berezovsky’s hope: “that as
a result of that press conference, all those old KGB generals would be fired from the
FSB and the new generation, new people, like Litvinenko, would replace them.” 52
Mr Putin’s reaction to the open letter and the press conference was not, however,
as Mr Berezovsky had hoped.
3.64 Professor Robert Service was until 2014 Professor of Russian History at Oxford
University; he gave expert evidence to the Inquiry on matters of Russian history (see
below 9.41 – 9.43). He suggested that, far from seeing the press conference as a
welcome step towards reform, Mr Putin probably regarded it as the first of a series of
occasions on which Mr Litvinenko was guilty of breaching the FSB code of loyalty.53
As we shall see, there were some in the FSB who certainly did take that view.

Dismissal, arrest, prosecution, imprisonment
3.65 The period between the press conference in November 1998 and Mr Litvinenko’s
decision to leave Russia for good in September 2000 saw his position gradually
deteriorate.
3.66 In December 1998 Mr Litvinenko and all the officers involved in the press conference
were dismissed from the FSB. Mr Berezovsky gave them jobs as consultants.
3.67 An official investigation was opened into Mr Litvinenko’s record. Marina Litvinenko
recalled that he told her that the situation would develop in one of two ways, “they will
kill him, or he will be arrested”.54
3.68 Mr Litvinenko was arrested on 25 March 1999. He was charged and detained in
the FSB Lefortovo prison in Moscow. The charges against Mr Litvinenko were of
exceeding his authority by assaulting a suspect. However, Mrs Litvinenko stated that
the investigator, named Nikolay Barsukov, had told her that the charges had been
brought in response to the press conference, and that; “if they were unsuccessful in
making the charges stick this time… they would come up with something else”.55 The
events that followed certainly lend credence to this threat.
3.69 Mr Litvinenko spent eight months in detention at Lefortovo prison. Marina Litvinenko
stated that Mr Berezovsky made representations to Mr Putin on Mr Litvinenko’s behalf,
but without success. She also stated that Mr Litvinenko’s former colleagues were
pressured to give false evidence against him, but refused to do so. When the trial
eventually took place before the Moscow Regional Military Court on 26 November
1999, Mr Litvinenko was acquitted of all charges.56
3.70 That, however, was far from the end of Mr Litvinenko’s difficulties. As Mrs Litvinenko
described, at the very moment that Mr Litvinenko was formally acquitted of the first
52

Felshtinsky 23/127 lines 11-17

INQ019146 (page 15 paragraph 46)

54
Marina Litvinenko 3/82-84; INQ017734 (pages 10-11 paragraphs 35-36)

55
INQ017734 (page 11 paragraph 37)

56
INQ017734 (pages 10-11 paragraphs 36,39-40)

53

24

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

set of charges: “immediately people came to this courtroom and they said they are
from the FSB and they have another order against my husband, and they need to
arrest him.” 57
3.71 Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that the new charges against Mr Litvinenko
concerned allegations of mishandling suspects and stealing goods during an operation
at a Moscow market in which he had been involved several years previously. The
investigator was again Mr Barsukov. Mr Litvinenko was again detained, but in a
different prison. He was released on bail in mid December 1999.58
3.72 The evidence before me was that these new proceedings collapsed before trial when
Mr Litvinenko produced evidence that he had not been at the market on the day in
question. A third set of proceedings was then brought against Mr Litvinenko, again at
the instigation of Mr Barsukov. The charge on this occasion was that Mr Litvinenko
had planted evidence on a suspect. Mr Litvinenko was not arrested but his passport
was confiscated and he was told not to leave Moscow without permission.59
3.73 There is evidence that on this occasion as previously an associate of Mr Litvinenko
was put under pressure to give false evidence against him.60 I have also seen evidence
that Mr Litvinenko’s father, Walter, was complaining of being harassed by the Russian
authorities at this time.61
3.74 This third set of proceedings was still in train when Mr Litvinenko left Russia in October
2000. Mr Litvinenko was ultimately convicted on those charges in 2002.62

57

Marina Litvinenko 3/87 lines 16-18
INQ017734 (page 12 paragraphs 40-41)
59
INQ017734 (page 12 paragraphs 42-43)
60
Marina Litvinenko 4/102-105; HMG000122
61
Marina Litvinenko 4/105-110; BER002750; HMG000120
62
Marina Litvinenko 3/94 lines 9-18
58

25

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 2:

Leaving Russia

3.75 The evidence I have received suggests that Mr Litvinenko became increasingly
concerned for his safety and that of his family in Russia during 2000.
3.76 Mr Felshtinsky gave evidence about a meeting that he had with General Khokholkov,
the former head of URPO, in Moscow in May 2000. According to Mr Felshtinsky,
his purpose in speaking with General Khokholkov was to try to establish whether
the authorities would let Mr Litvinenko leave Russia, in particular now that he had
served nine months or so in prison. General Khokholkov’s response, as reported by
Mr Felshtinsky, was uncompromising:
“He told me that nine months, or whatever, is nothing, that Litvinenko committed
treason, that he is going to… prison anyway, and if he [i.e. Khokholkov] actually
sees him by chance, you know, somewhere in a dark corner, he would kill him with
his own hands.”
Mr Felshtinsky explained that General Kohkholkov had gestured with his hands as
he had said this – he said that, “Khokholkov hated Litvinenko very much, and…
considered him… a person who committed treason, this is for sure.” 63
3.77 Mr Felshtinsky immediately reported this conversation to Mr Litvinenko, and told him
that he should consider leaving Russia.64
3.78 Nor was this the only threat that Mr Litvinenko received. Marina Litvinenko said that
her husband had been approached by an FSB colonel who had said words to the
following effect: “We will not continue discussions with you, we will kill you, to be clear
we will kill your six year old son… you are being prosecuted not for any crimes that
you may have committed. Everybody knows that you did not commit them. You are
being prosecuted for betraying the system and openly acting against the system.” 65
3.79 Marina Litvinenko also gave evidence that when the third set of charges was brought
against Mr Litvinenko in early 2000, they were told that the case would be heard not
in Moscow, as with the first two sets of proceedings, but in Yaroslavl, some 300km
from Moscow. They were also told that the trial would be closed to the press and
the public. Their concern was that, away from the public attention that the earlier
proceedings had received in Moscow, the authorities would be able to implement
what Mr Litvinenko believed to have been the direct order to “put him in prison and
never let him… out”.66
3.80 It would appear that it was a combination of all these fears that led Mr Litvinenko to
decide to leave Russia for good. Mr Felshtinsky’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko had
decided to leave Russia by the time of a meeting between the two men in Moscow
on 24 September 2000, at which they discussed Mr Litvinenko’s proposed escape.67
3.81 This was not, however, a decision that Mr Litvinenko initially shared with his wife
or his son. Mrs Litvinenko’s evidence was that in September 2000 (presumably in
late September, after his meeting with Mr Felshtinsky), Mr Litvinenko suddenly left
Moscow for Nalchik, saying that he was flying to Nalchik to visit relatives.68
63

Felshtinsky 23/141
Felshtinsky 23/143 lines 14-17
65
INQ017734 (page 22 paragraph 76); Marina Litvinenko 4/101
66
INQ017734 (page 12 paragraph 43); Marina Litvinenko 3/90-91
67
Felshtinsky 23/143-144
68
Marina Litvinenko 3/94-95; Felshtinsky 23/145 lines 13-16
64

26

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

3.82 Having arrived in Nalchik, Mr Litvinenko crossed into neighbouring Georgia. Once he
had made his way to Tbilisi, Mr Litvinenko passed a message to Mr Berezovsky, who
in turn contacted Mr Felshtinsky. Mr Felshtinsky then travelled from Boston to Tbilisi
to meet Mr Litvinenko.69
3.83 Next Mr Litvinenko got a message to Marina Litvinenko instructing her to buy a new
mobile phone. He then called her on the new phone and told her that she and Anatoly
must go on holiday anywhere she liked as soon as possible – they decided on Malaga
in Spain. Mrs Litvinenko explained that the suggestion of a holiday was unexpected
and inconvenient; but she made the arrangements and they flew to Malaga on about
17 October 2000.70
3.84 Mr Felshtinsky recalled speaking to Marina Litvinenko from Tbilisi about her travel
arrangements. He then flew from Tbilisi to Malaga and met Marina Litvinenko on her
arrival there. He stayed with her for two days, and then flew back to join Mr Litvinenko
in Tbilisi.71
3.85 I should mention at this point that the evidence I heard was that this entire exercise
was funded by Mr Berezovsky. He paid for air flights and hotel accommodation. He
also made his private jet available, for example for Mr Felshtinsky’s flights between
Tbilisi and Malaga.72
3.86 Marina Litvinenko’s evidence to me was that she spoke to Mr Litvinenko at length whilst
she was in Malaga. He explained that he was not in Nalchik but in Georgia, and that
they now had to decide whether they would ever return to Russia. He said that if she
wished to go back, he would go back with her, but he feared that if he did return he
would be arrested, jailed and killed in prison. He was worried, she said, not only for his
own safety in Russia but also for her and Anatoly, whom he would be unable to protect
from the FSB. In the end, Marina Litvinenko explained, they decided not to return.73
3.87 Back in Tbilisi, Mr Felshtinsky and Mr Litvinenko were concerned for their safety.
Mr Felshtinsky’s evidence was that they had asked officials at the United States
(US) embassy in Tbilisi to grant Mr Litvinenko political asylum, but without success
(he also said that they had not, contrary to Mr Goldfarb’s evidence, approached the
British embassy in Tbilisi). They were worried that the FSB might have realised that
Mr Litvinenko had left Moscow, and that they might have traced him to Georgia. By this
stage, Mr Litvinenko had acquired a false Georgian passport. The two men travelled
to Antalya in Turkey.74
3.88 Mr Felshtinsky then took Mr Berezovsky’s plane back to Malaga, where he collected
Marina and Anatoly Litvinenko and brought them back to Antalya.
3.89 At this stage Mr Felshtinsky returned to the US, but he was replaced by Mr Goldfarb,
who flew from his home in New York to join the Litvinenko family at Mr Berezovsky’s
request. Mr Felshtinsky recalled that the two men had spoken by telephone whilst
they were both in London on their respective journeys, although they did not have
time to meet.75
69

Felshtinsky 23/145
Marina Litvinenko 3/95-96
71
Marina Litvinenko 3/97; Felshtinsky 23/145-146
72
Felshtinsky 23/149 lines 15-19
73
Marina Litvinenko 3/98-101
74
Felshtinsky 23/146-150
75
Felshtinsky 23/150-151
70

27

The Litvinenko Inquiry

3.90 Mr Goldfarb described how, after his arrival in Turkey, he had travelled with the
Litvinenko family to Ankara. He had arranged an approach to the US embassy there,
and Mr and Mrs Litvinenko were interviewed separately by US officials.76
3.91 The American officials responded on the following day saying that they could not
assist. By this time, the Litvinenko family and Mr Goldfarb were in Istanbul, having
driven there overnight, again because they were concerned that they might be in
danger from the FSB.
3.92 The group were now desperate to reach a place of safety. Mr Goldfarb’s evidence was
that Badri Patarkatsishvili, Mr Berezovsky’s friend and business partner, suggested
sending a boat to pick them up in Istanbul, but that was considered too dangerous.
Mr Goldfarb researched which destinations could be reached by air without the
need for a visa. The solution that they eventually hit upon was to fly to the UK by
purchasing tickets from Istanbul to Tbilisi via London, a trip that did not require any
transit visas. As had been the case throughout this period, Mr Berezovsky met the
costs – Mr Goldfarb’s evidence was that the costs that he had incurred amounted to
US$130,000.77
3.93 On 1 November 2000, Alexander, Marina and Anatoly Litvinenko flew to London with
Mr Goldfarb on the first leg of their supposed journey to Tbilisi. Marina Litvinenko
described in her evidence how, having landed at Heathrow Airport, Mr Litvinenko
approached the first police officer that he saw in the transit area and said, “I am KGB
officer and I’m asking for political asylum”.78

76

Goldfarb 5/92-95; Marina Litvinenko 3/105-106
Goldfarb 5/97-98
78
Marina Litvinenko 3/108
77

28

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

Chapter 3:

In the United Kingdom

3.94 The Litvinenko family lived in the UK for six years before Mr Litvinenko’s death on
23 November 2006. I heard a great deal of evidence about Mr Litvinenko’s work and
campaigning activities during this period, together with other aspects of his life that
may have been connected to his death. I will address these matters in detail in due
course. In this chapter I propose to give a brief outline of the evidence that I have
heard about the family’s life during those six years.

Immigration status
3.95 As I have indicated, Mr Litvinenko claimed asylum on behalf of himself and his family
when they first arrived in the UK. Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko
was interviewed for a lengthy period by immigration officers at Heathrow on the
day of their arrival. Thereafter he worked with George Menzies, the solicitor whom
Mr Goldfarb had contacted whilst they were on their way to the UK, to prepare his
claim. The Home Office granted the family’s asylum claim in May 2001.79
3.96 Marina Litvinenko gave evidence that when they were granted asylum, the family
took up the option of changing their names. She took the name of Marie Anne Carter,
Mr Litvinenko the name of Edwin Redwald Carter and Anatoly that of Anthony Carter.80
3.97 In 2002 the family were issued with travel documents (in their new names), which
enabled them to travel away from the UK. Marina Litvinenko said that the first holiday
they took, in the summer of 2002, was back to the hotel in Spain where she and
Anatoly had stayed in 2000, and where they had taken the decision to leave Russia
permanently.81
3.98 In 2006 the family became eligible for naturalisation as British citizens. They made
an application and were granted citizenship at a ceremony at Haringey civic centre
on 13 October 2006. One thing that is clear on the evidence that I have heard is that
Mr Litvinenko was delighted to have become a British citizen. Marina Litvinenko said
that he flew an English flag from their balcony during the World Cup in the summer of
2006 – he was, she said, “very proud to be British, … and he was very proud for his
son to be British and having his future in England”.82 There was, of course, a darker
side to this moment. As we shall see, one of the reasons that Mr Litvinenko was so
pleased to be granted British citizenship was that it made him feel safer. Ironically, the
ceremony took place only a few weeks before he was fatally poisoned.

Accommodation
3.99 I have already referred to the evidence that Mr Berezovsky funded the Litvinenko
family’s escape from Russia. Marina Litvinenko stated that, while she had been in
Spain and trying to decide whether or not the family should leave everything behind
them in Russia, she had spoken to Mr Berezovsky, who had promised that he would
support them.83 On the evidence that I have heard, this was a promise that, at least in
broad terms, Mr Berezovsky fulfilled.
79

Marina Litvinenko 3/108-110
Marina Litvinenko 3/110-111
81
Marina Litvinenko 3/111-112
82
Marina Litvinenko 3/112-113
83
Marina Litvinenko 3/114
80

29

The Litvinenko Inquiry

3.100 Mr Berezovsky provided accommodation for the family. After a few days in a hotel and
then an aparthotel, the family moved into a rented flat in Kensington that was paid
for by Mr Berezovsky. They stayed there for two years. In about 2002 they moved to
the house in Muswell Hill, 140 Osier Crescent, where they were living at the time of
Mr Litvinenko’s death. Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that this house was owned
by one of Mr Berezovsky’s companies. They did not pay any rent for the house, but
they did pay all the bills.84
3.101 I also heard evidence that Mr Berezovsky employed Mr Litvinenko to work for him. Both
Marina Litvinenko and Mr Goldfarb said that payments were made to Mr Litvinenko
by way of regular grants from the International Foundation for Civil Liberties, which I
have heard was funded by Mr Berezovsky and operated by Mr Goldfarb.85 There was
also some evidence that in due course Mr Berezovsky reduced the payments that
he was making to Mr Litvinenko. It has been suggested that this led to a falling out
between the two men. I will return to that issue below.

Medical history
3.102 Mr Litvinenko was, according to the evidence that I have heard, an extremely healthy
man. In contrast to many of his colleagues in the FSB, he did not drink or smoke. He
took regular exercise. Marina Litvinenko said that she had registered the family with
a local medical practice following their move to Muswell Hill in 2002, but she did not
think that Mr Litvinenko had ever been to see the general practitioner (GP) in the
subsequent years, although she did remember one occasion when a private doctor
had come to see him about a lower back problem.86
3.103 A statement was read to the Inquiry from Dr Rebecca Hatjiosif, who is a GP at that
practice. She produced Mr Litvinenko’s medical notes, which I received in evidence.87
Dr Hatjiosif stated that Mr Litvinenko had been registered with her practice in May
2003 and gave evidence which confirmed Marina Litvinenko’s recollection that he had
not thereafter had any contact with the surgery.88

Work and school
3.104 Marina Litvinenko stated that both she and her husband attended language school in
Kensington for the first two years that they were in London. By 2004, her English was
good enough to enable her to secure a job as a dance teacher at a David Lloyd club
in Finchley. She said that she also taught at a language school for Russian children.
3.105 All the evidence I have heard is that Mr Litvinenko’s spoken English was markedly
worse than his wife’s, and that she was being over modest when she told me that
her English was “maybe… a little bit better” than his.89 When Dean Attew first met
Mr Litvinenko in 2004, he found his English to be “extremely limited”. Mr Attew did
think that Mr Litvinenko’s English had improved considerably by 2006, but he observed
that:
84

Marina Litvinenko 3/114-116
INQ017734 (page 17 paragraph 59); Goldfarb 5/102-107
86
Marina Litvinenko 3/122-123
87
INQ015541
88
Hatjiosif 2/99-101
89
Marina Litvinenko 3/121 lines 18-19
85

30

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

“there was always, if I may say, a distinct difference between Marina who had
clearly taken on board the English language and had progressed very quickly and
Sasha, I think, took a little bit longer.” 90
It appears from the evidence of other witnesses, for example Tim Reilly and Alexander
Tabunov, that even in 2006 Mr Litvinenko was still in the habit of seeking out Russian
speakers in order to talk in his mother tongue. And when Mr Litvinenko was interviewed
by the Metropolitan Police Service when he was in hospital after the poisoning, it was
necessary for him to be assisted by an interpreter.
3.106 Anatoly Litvinenko started school in London in 2001. Marina Litvinenko’s evidence
was that his school fees were met by Mr Berezovsky, although she added that there
was a reduction in these payments after 2003.91

Close friends
3.107 Mr Litvinenko had a number of friends and associates in London, including some,
such as Mr Berezovsky and Mr Goldfarb, who have already featured in this narrative.
I will refer to others in due course.
3.108 At this stage, I propose simply to introduce two men with whom Mr Litvinenko
developed particularly strong friendships during this period.
3.109 The first of these men was Vladimir Bukovsky. Mr Bukovsky, who came to give evidence
to the Inquiry, was a Russian dissident who had spent many years in detention in
Soviet Russia before being released to the West in 1976 in exchange for the general
secretary of the Chilean Communist Party. It seems that either Mr Goldfarb or
Mr Berezovsky put Mr Litvinenko in touch with Mr Bukovsky shortly after the family’s
arrival in the UK. The evidence from both Marina Litvinenko and Mr Bukovsky himself
was that, thereafter, the two developed a very strong friendship. Mrs Litvinenko
described Mr Bukovsky as Mr Litvinenko’s “guru”, and the “greatest contact” that he
had.92 Mr Bukovsky said that he talked to Mr Litvinenko about the history of KGB
repression during the twentieth century, of which Mr Litvinenko had previously been
unaware. He said that Mr Litvinenko would sometimes telephone him “20, 30 times
a day, including the night time” and that Mr Litvinenko also travelled to see him at
his home.93 It is clear to me that Mr Litvinenko’s discussions with Mr Bukovsky were
highly influential in the development of his political views.
3.110 The second of Mr Litvinenko’s very close friends was Akhmed Zakayev. Mr Zakayev
arrived in London in 2002 and claimed asylum. Like Mr Litvinenko, he was supported
by Mr Berezovsky. Mr Zakayev was introduced to Mr Litvinenko by Mr Berezovsky,
and Mr Zakayev subsequently chose to live with his family in a house very close to the
Litvinenko’s house in Muswell Hill. As Mr Zakayev put it in evidence, “Chechen people
first choose the neighbour and then they buy the house. That’s exactly what I did.”
He said that the two families became “very, very big friends, very close friends”, who
would see each other almost every day.94 Again, it is clear to me that his friendship with
Mr Zakayev was an important influence on Mr Litvinenko’s life in the years between
2002 and 2006. It was during this period, and no doubt a result of this friendship, that
90

Attew 13/15-16
Marina Litvinenko 3/119-120
92
Marina Litvinenko 3/142-143
93
Bukovsky 26/87-88; 26/92-93
94
Zakayev 26/143
91

31

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Litvinenko became increasingly committed to the Chechen cause, a cause for
which he campaigned publicly. On a more personal level, Mr Litvinenko decided at
the end of his life to convert to Islam, a process that Mr Zakayev arranged for him on
his deathbed.

32

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

Chapter 4:

Illness and death

3.111 Mr Litvinenko was taken ill during the night of 1 November 2006. After a few days he
was admitted to Barnet Hospital. He spent two weeks there before being transferred
to University College Hospital (UCH) on 17 November. His condition gradually
deteriorated and he died on 23 November.
3.112 The purpose of this chapter is to record the evidence that I heard, much of it
uncontentious, regarding the events, and the course of Mr Litvinenko’s symptoms,
between 1 November and his death some three weeks later.

Onset of symptoms
3.113 Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko fell ill suddenly and unexpectedly
during the night of 1 November. I have referred above to the evidence that Mr Litvinenko
was generally in very good health. Although he had been sick a fortnight or so earlier
on the evening of 16 October (a subject to which I shall have to return in some
detail below), it seems that he had recovered from that episode within a couple of
days.95 Mrs Litvinenko recalled that Mr Litvinenko had been “absolutely normal” on
31 October,96 and was again “absolutely fine” on the evening of 1 November when he
returned from meetings in central London.97 Because it was the anniversary of their
arrival in the UK, and their first such anniversary since acquiring British citizenship,
Mrs Litvinenko cooked a special meal, which she and Mr Litvinenko ate together.
Mr Litvinenko ate with a healthy appetite and suggested that they did not have a late
night because he had promised to take one of Mr Zakayev’s grandsons to school the
next day, as well as having more meetings in London.98
3.114 Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko started vomiting in the early
hours of 2 November. He spent the rest of the night in the spare room, but carried on
vomiting. Mrs Litvinenko recalled that when she went to check him the next morning
he looked “very exhausted” and was vomiting “again and again”.99
3.115 Mr Litvinenko’s condition worsened during the day on 2 November. He could not
keep any food or drink down. Mrs Litvinenko recalled telephoning a doctor in the
local Russian community, a man called Yuri Prikazchikov, who recommended that
Mr Litvinenko take salt and mineral solutions. She went to the chemist to buy the
suggested treatments, but Mr Litvinenko simply vomited them back up again.100
3.116 By the middle of the next night, i.e. the early hours of 3 November, Mrs Litvinenko
decided to call an ambulance. She recalled that the ambulance came and that the
paramedics examined Mr Litvinenko, but that they said that he was probably suffering
from a bug or flu, and advised him to stay at home.101 Statements from the two
members of the ambulance crew, which broadly confirmed this account, were read to
the Inquiry.102
95

Marina Litvinenko 4/37 lines 11-16
Marina Litvinenko 4/45 line 9
97
Marina Litvinenko 4/48 line 17
98
Marina Litvinenko 4/48-49
99
Marina Litvinenko 4/49-51
100
Marina Litvinenko 4/50-53
101
Marina Litvinenko 4/53-54
102
Cole 17/119-122; Schofield 17/122-124
96

33

The Litvinenko Inquiry

3.117 Mr Litvinenko was worse again on the following day, 3 November. He started to
complain of pain, and to experience bloody diarrhoea.103 Mrs Litvinenko’s evidence
was that it was on this day that she prevailed upon the Russian doctor to whom
she had previously spoken on the phone to come and visit.104 Mr Prikazchikov,
who gave evidence to the Inquiry, thought that he had visited on the previous day,
but in light of the chronology he is probably wrong about that. Mrs Litvinenko and
Mr Prikazchikov were, though, agreed on what he said when he visited. He said that
Mr Litvinenko was probably suffering from either food poisoning (no other form of
poisoning was mentioned) or an infection, but that either way he ought to be taken
straight to hospital.105
3.118 Accordingly, Mrs Litvinenko again rang for an ambulance. The ambulance arrived
just after 4.00pm on 3 November and, on this occasion, took Mr Litvinenko to Barnet
Hospital, where he was immediately admitted.106

Treatment in Barnet Hospital
3.119 Dr Andres Virchis, a consultant haematologist at Barnet Hospital, gave evidence
about Mr Litvinenko’s care and treatment for the fortnight that he was a patient at
that hospital.107 I also admitted into evidence Mr Litvinenko’s medical notes from
Barnet Hospital.108
3.120 The evidence that I received from such sources as to Mr Litvinenko’s symptoms whilst
in Barnet Hospital, about the care and treatment that he received, and in particular
about the attempts made by the medical staff to diagnose the condition from which he
was suffering, may be summarised as follows:
a. Mr Litvinenko had been suffering from abdominal pain, profuse diarrhoea and
vomiting for two days when he was taken to hospital.109 An initial diagnosis of
gastro-enteritis with mild dehydration was made;110 and Mr Litvinenko underwent
a wide range of tests over the following days to try to identify the cause of his
symptoms. The results of the initial blood tests showed that although the platelet
count was normal, both haemoglobin and the white blood cell count were high.111
The blood test results also revealed that Mr Litvinenko had abnormally high levels
of creatine and urea, indicating that he was dehydrated from the vomiting and
diarrhoea112
b. On 4 November Mr Litvinenko was started on a course of Ciprofloxacin, a
relatively strong broad spectrum antibiotic.113 However, further samples of
Mr Litvinenko’s blood were analysed over the next few days; and doctors observed
that the platelet count fell to an abnormal level and the red and white blood cell
counts fell further. The continuing decline in blood cell count caused increasing
levels of concern114
103

Marina Litvinenko 4/54 lines 22-23
Marina Litvinenko 4/54-55
105
Prikazchikov 17/110-115
106
Marina Litvinenko 4/55-56; Baxter 17/125-127
107
Virchis 18/2-74
108
INQ006741
109
Virchis 18/6-7
110
Virchis 18/13
111
Virchis 18/19
112
Virchis 18/20-21
113
Virchis 18/16-17
114
Virchis 18/20; 18/26-31
104

34

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

c. On or around 9 November, Marina Litvinenko asked Mr Litvinenko’s consultant,
Dr Dean Creer whether Mr Litvinenko’s infection could have been the result of
poisoning. She explained that her husband was usually extremely fit and healthy,
but, “he knew of dangerous people and a friend of theirs had been poisoned and
killed by these people”, hence her anxiety. Dr Creer told her that the symptoms
were common and that intentional infection/poisoning was not likely115
d. Dr Virchis took over Mr Litvinenko’s care on 13 November. He was aware of
Mrs Litvinenko’s previously expressed concerns about possible poisoning,116 and
he observed that Mr Litvinenko’s condition did not fit with the previous evolving
diagnosis of gastro-enteritis or of Ciprofloxacin toxicity.117 Further attempts were
made by medical staff to identify a cause for Mr Litvinenko’s declining condition
and various investigations were carried out involving toxicology colleagues at
Guy’s Hospital poisons unit118
e. When considering the signs and symptoms with which Mr Litvinenko was
presenting, it struck Dr Virchis that his presentation was similar to that of a
patient suffering from acute leukaemia who had been treated with intensive
chemotherapy and total body irradiation prior to a bone marrow transplant.119
The clinical notes reveal that radiology was to be asked to, “check radioactive
sources of poisoning.” Testing with a Geiger counter on 15 November did not
detect radioactive emissions120
f.

On 16 November Dr Virchis spoke to Mr Ivan House at the poisons unit. Mr House
stated that preliminary results showed that Mr Litvinenko’s condition should be
treated as “suspicious thallium poisoning”; and treatment with Prussian blue was
started that evening121

g. Dr Virchis was concerned that tests showed that Mr Litvinenko’s bone marrow had
degenerated and contained no discernible normal blood forming elements. He
considered a bone marrow transplant to be the only means of restoring meaningful
bone marrow function,122 and discussed the possibility of such a transplant with
staff at University College Hospital (UCH). Mr Litvinenko was transferred to UCH
on 17 November123

The hair sample
3.121 An incident of some importance to this Inquiry that took place whilst Mr Litvinenko was
in Barnet Hospital was the collection of some hair from his head. He had begun to
lose his hair a few days after his admission to hospital. Marina Litvinenko explained in
evidence that he found it very uncomfortable when his hair started to fall out, and she
asked a Russian friend, Valentina Michenina, to come to the hospital and shave his
head.124 Mrs Michenina gave oral evidence and had a clear memory of this incident.
115

Virchis 18/37-39
Virchis 18/41-42
117
Virchis 18/50; 18/52
118
Virchis 18/51-53
119
Virchis 18/55-58
120
Virchis 18/59-60
121
Virchis 18/67-68
122
Virchis 18/70
123
Virchis 18/72
124
Marina Litvinenko 4/58-59
116

35

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Her recollection was that when she went to the hospital for this purpose, a doctor
asked her to pull out some of Mr Litvinenko’s hair for testing, and gave them a clear
plastic bag to fill for this purpose. She remembered pulling out Mr Litvinenko’s hair
where she could and filling the bag, then shaving the rest of his head. She said she
gave the bag to Mrs Litvinenko.125 Mrs Litvinenko did not recall being directed by
staff to fill the bag, but she did remember filling the bag with hair and putting it on
Mr Litvinenko’s bedside table with his other possessions.
3.122 To complete this part of the story, I also heard evidence from a nurse at UCH named
Gemma Trout.126 Ms Trout stated that she found a plastic bag of hair in the room
on her ward that Mr Litvinenko had occupied before being moved to intensive care.
She assumed that it was his. Her description of the bag broadly matched that given
by Marina Litvinenko and Mrs Michenina. Ms Trout’s evidence tallies with that of
Marina Litvinenko, who remembered the bag of hair being transferred to UCH, and
seeing it on Mr Litvinenko’s bedside table there.127 Ms Trout gave the bag to the
police. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests performed much later demonstrated to an
extremely high degree of likelihood that the hair in the bag was Mr Litvinenko’s.128
3.123 As we shall see, these hair samples were of some importance to the scientific
investigations that were subsequently carried out.

Visitors
3.124 Marina Litvinenko stated in evidence that she had visited Mr Litvinenko every day that
he was in hospital, often taking Anatoly with her.129 Mr Zakayev, too, said that he had
visited every day.130
3.125 Both Mr Goldfarb and Mr Berezovsky were out of the country when Mr Litvinenko
was taken ill. Mr Goldfarb stated that he had been in Paris since 9 November. He
said that he returned to London on 13 November and first visited Mr Litvinenko on
15 November. He appears thereafter to have visited Mr Litvinenko on a more or less
daily basis.131
3.126 Mr Berezovsky was in South Africa, having flown there (as we shall see) on the
evening of 1 November. The evidence that he gave in his police witness statement
was that he returned to the UK on 16 or 17 November and first visited Mr Litvinenko
at Barnet Hospital on the day after he arrived back.132 This account tallies with
Marina Litvinenko’s evidence. She remembered him visiting for the first time on
17 November.133 Mr Berezovsky told the police that he then visited Mr Litvinenko
daily.134

125

Michenina 18/89-93
Trout 18/75-83
127
Marina Litvinenko 4/64-65
128
Mascall 24/10-13
129
Marina Litvinenko 4/56 lines 5-10
130
Zakayev 26/153 lines 10-11
131
Goldfarb 5/133-145
132
Berezovsky 25/19
133
Marina Litvinenko 4/60-61
134
Berezovsky 25/19 lines 20-21
126

36

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

Transfer to UCH and treatment there
3.127 As noted above, Mr Litvinenko was transferred to UCH late at night on 17 November.
He was an inpatient there for a little less than a week before his death on 23 November.
3.128 I heard oral evidence about Mr Litvinenko’s medical treatment at UCH from
Dr Amit Nathwani, a consultant haematologist at that hospital.135 As with Dr Virchis, I
also admitted into evidence the relevant medical notes.136
3.129 In summary:
a.

Following Mr Litvinenko’s arrival at UCH, he seemed to be responding well to the
treatment with Prussian blue and reported feeling much better since the treatment
had started

b.

Professor John Henry, an internationally renowned toxicologist with an interest in
rare poisons, became involved in advising on Mr Litvinenko’s treatment. He died
in 2007, but statements that he had given to the police were read into the record

c.

Professor Henry stated that he had received a telephone call from Mr Goldfarb
on 17 November. They discussed Mr Litvinenko’s case and Mr Goldfarb told
Professor Henry that Mr Litvinenko had been poisoned by thallium.137 Professor
Henry visited Mr Litvinenko at UCH on 18 November and examined him with the
agreement of the haematology team. Professor Henry stated that he agreed with
the diagnosis of thallium poisoning138 and Mr Litvinenko continued to be treated
with Prussian blue

d.

Despite the early improvement in Mr Litvinenko’s symptoms, he began to
vomit blood; and Dr Nathwani thought that this might be an adverse reaction
to one of the antibiotics with which he had been treated.139 Medical staff were
also concerned that Mr Litvinenko appeared to have an irregular heartbeat, his
temperature was raised, he continued to vomit and he had abdominal pain.140 An
electrocardiogram (ECG) confirmed an irregular heartbeat.141 Dr Nathwani felt that
he and his colleagues were in “uncharted territory” with the suspected thallium
poisoning. Dr Nathwani therefore wanted to monitor Mr Litvinenko closely and
considered the possibility of transferring him to a high dependency or intensive
care unit (ICU) where his heart rate could be monitored continuously142

e.

On 19 November, a bed became available for Mr Litvinenko on the ICU. The
police expressed concerns as to security with regard to a transfer to the ICU. But
Dr Nathwani decided that Mr Litvinenko should be moved for his own well being;
he was transferred to the ICU later that evening143

f.

Dr Nathwani assessed Mr Litvinenko’s condition again on 20 November. He was
concerned about Mr Litvinenko’s bone marrow failure and raised temperature

135

Nathwani 18/93-129
INQ006652
137
Henry 18/132
138
Henry 18/137
139
Nathwani 18/99-100
140
Nathwani 18/101
141
Nathwani 18/103
142
Nathwani 18/103-105
143
Nathwani 18/107-108
136

37

The Litvinenko Inquiry

and noted that his falling platelet count created a risk of bleeding. In order to
maintain the platelet count, Mr Litvinenko was given a blood transfusion.
Dr Nathwani noted that, although the level of thallium in Mr Litvinenko’s blood
had been abnormal before his transfer to UCH, it was not elevated to the level
that would indicate that he had been poisoned. The clinical picture at that time
was one of bone marrow failure together with mucosal gut damage and hair
loss; and Dr Nathwani was surprised to note that, given such serious symptoms,
Mr Litvinenko did not have any significant damage to his nerve endings and had
relatively low thallium levels.144 Fundamentally, Dr Nathwani remained puzzled by
Mr Litvinenko’s clinical presentation, and was concerned that it did not fit squarely
with a diagnosis of thallium poisoning145
g. Mr Litvinenko’s renal function then began to deteriorate and his blood was
artificially filtered to remove toxins. This further complication added to the puzzle
but Dr Nathwani observed in evidence that it is not unusual for patients with a
persistent infection and a high temperature that is unresponsive to antibiotics to
present with a gradual deterioration of other organs; he added that this is quite
common in patients with bone marrow failure. But he was more surprised to note
that Mr Litvinenko’s liver function was also decreasing146
h. Dr Nathwani described fishing for diagnoses and further samples were taken in
order to look for chromosomal changes.147 His registrar, Dr Kim Ryland discussed
Mr Litvinenko’s condition with Dr Dargan at Guy’s Hospital poisons unit. She
noted her colleagues’ concerns that, clinically, Mr Litvinenko was not behaving
like a patient with thallium poisoning because of the absence of neurotoxicity and
the profound pancytopaenia (the absence of all types of blood cells). A further
urine sample was sent to Guy’s and the registrar at Guy’s advised continuing
with ‘Berlin blue’ (which Dr Nathwani explained is the same as Prussian blue)
for seven to ten days and until urinary levels returned to normal, and that other
causes of Mr Litvinenko’s clinical presentation should be considered as thallium
poisoning did not appear to be the primary cause148 of his condition
i.

Dr Nathwani discussed Mr Litvinenko’s condition again with Dr Dargan at
Guy’s poison unit on 21 November. Dr Dargan confirmed that they did not think
Mr Litvinenko had thallium poisoning. Dr Dargan advised that Dr Nathwani
investigate whether radioisotopes could be a potential cause, and gave
Dr Nathwani the contact details for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).
The poison unit’s note of this conversation records the unit’s view that there are
only a few agents that would cause isolated mucositis and bone marrow failure149

j.

Mr Litvinenko’s condition continued to deteriorate on 21 November and during
that night, he suffered two cardiac arrests from which he was resuscitated.150 On
22 November, doctors stopped treating Mr Litvinenko with Prussian blue as they
were by then certain that he was not suffering from thallium poisoning

144

Nathwani 18/109-110
Nathwani 18/111
146
Nathwani 18/111-112
147
Nathwani 18/113
148
Nathwani 18/114-117
149
Nathwani 18/123-124
150
Nathwani 18/127
145

38

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

k.

Dr Nathwani recalled that it was on 21 November that the idea that
chemotherapeutic agents or radioisotopes could have been used to poison
Mr Litvinenko was first suggested by the pharmacist at UCH and colleagues at
the poisons unit151

l.

On the same day, Professor Henry was interviewed by journalists outside UCH,
after visiting Mr Litvinenko for a second time. During the televised interview,
Professor Henry expressed the opinion that Mr Litvinenko had been poisoned with
radioactive thallium.152 Mr Clive Timmons (a Detective Superintendent in 2006)
recalled speaking to DS Mike Jolly, who had seen Professor Henry’s televised
interview, later on 21 November. DS Jolly suggested to Mr Timmons that it would be
useful to try to establish if radioactivity was affecting Mr Litvinenko. Consequently,
samples of Mr Litvinenko’s blood and urine were sent to AWE for testing153

m. The blood and urine samples arrived at AWE in the early evening of 21 November.
Tests were conducted overnight154
n.

A meeting between police officers, the forensic science service, AWE and
Dr Nicholas Gent from Porton Down had been arranged for the following day,
22 November. During the meeting, the results of the urine tests at AWE, which
revealed that polonium was present in Mr Litvinenko’s urine, were discussed.
However, it was thought that this reading was an anomaly caused by the plastic
bottle in which the sample had been stored155

o.

Mr Timmons had requested that a ‘living post mortem’ be carried out on Mr Litvinenko
in order to try to establish the cause of his condition. In the course of the meeting
Dr Gent presented five causes that had been identified as possibly contributing
to his condition.156 One possibility, an internal radiation source, appeared to fit
with the spike of polonium that had been identified in the tests at AWE. But those
present at the meeting were of the view that this was an unlikely cause. It was
decided that further investigation was needed. At AWE’s request, a further sample
of one litre of Mr Litvinenko’s urine was sent to AWE for further testing157

p.

The further urine sample arrived at AWE in the early afternoon of 23 November.
Further testing was conducted. The results, which confirmed polonium contamination,
were communicated to the police between about 3.00pm and 5.00pm158

q.

At 8.51pm on Thursday 23 November, Mr Litvinenko suffered a third cardiac
arrest. Mr James Down, ICU consultant, was on duty at the time and attempted
to resuscitate Mr Litvinenko. But it became clear to him that Mr Litvinenko was
not going to regain spontaneous cardiac output. The attempts to resuscitate
were terminated; at 9.21pm Mr Down pronounced life extinct. He confirmed that
Mr Litvinenko died from multiple organ failure including progressive heart failure159

151

Nathwani 18/124
Henry 18/139-140
153
Timmons 22/7; INQ022258
154
INQ022258
155
Timmons 22/7
156
Timmons 22/8
157
Timmons 22/9-10; INQ022258
158
Timmons 22/10; INQ022258
159
Down 18/144
152

39

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Police interviews
3.130 The Metropolitan Police Service conducted lengthy interviews with Mr Litvinenko for
the first three days that he was at UCH. The interviews took place in four sessions.
The first session was very early in the morning on 18 November – from midnight until
2.45am; this would have been only a few hours after Mr Litvinenko arrived at UCH.
The second session took place at the end of the same day, from 7.24pm to 11.49pm.
The third and fourth sessions took place in the late afternoon and evening of 19 and
20 November respectively.
3.131 The senior of the two interviewing officers, Detective Inspector (DI) Hyatt, gave oral
evidence to the Inquiry.160
3.132 The interviews were transcribed and I adduced the entirety of the transcripts into
evidence. It is, to put it mildly, unusual when inquiring into a death to have available
lengthy transcripts of interviews with the deceased conducted shortly before his death.
I regard these transcripts as being of great value to this Inquiry.

Mr Litvinenko’s own explanation for his illness
3.133 It would appear that Mr Litvinenko was alive to the possibility that he had been
deliberately poisoned from the first days of his illness. Mr Prikazchikov recalled that
Marina Litvinenko asked him whether Mr Litvinenko might have been poisoned when
he visited the house, probably on 3 November.161 Mr Zakayev recalled discussing with
Mr Litvinenko the possibility that he had been poisoned on either 4 or 5 November.162
3.134 Who did Mr Litvinenko think might have poisoned him? At the first of his police
interviews, in the early hours of 18 November, Mr Litvinenko told DI Hyatt that one
of three people must have been the poisoner.163 The three men that he named were
Mario Scaramella, with whom he had eaten at itsu during the early afternoon of
1 November, and Andrey Lugovy and Dmitri Kovtun, whom he had met later that day
in the Pine Bar at the Millennium Hotel. Mr Litvinenko told DI Hyatt something else.
He said that, although he had spoken publicly about his meeting with Mr Scaramella
on 1 November, he had deliberately not said anything in public about his meeting with
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun.164 His explanation to DI Hyatt, put shortly, was that he
hoped that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun might be sufficiently confident that they were
not suspects to return to London, where they could be arrested. In his oral evidence to
me Mr Zakayev stated that this was a strategy that he and Mr Litvinenko had devised
together.165
3.135 Shortly before Mr Litvinenko left Barnet Hospital, probably on 17 November, he gave
an interview to the journalist David Leppard. Mr Leppard wrote an article on the basis
of the interview which appeared in the Sunday Times on Sunday 19 November. I
admitted both a transcript of the interview and a copy of the article into evidence.166
It is apparent from those documents that Mr Litvinenko implied to Mr Leppard that he
thought he had been poisoned by Mr Scaramella; he did not mention Mr Lugovoy or
Mr Kovtun at all. The strategy that Mr Litvinenko described to DI Hyatt in his subsequent
interview would appear to explain what would otherwise be a puzzling omission.
160

Hyatt 4/137-170; 5/1-55
Prikazchikov 17/114 lines 16-20
162
Zakayev 26/153
163
INQ002470 (page 14)
164
INQ002470 (pages 12-13)
165
Zakayev 26/154-155
166
INQ016789; INQ018413
161

40

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

3.136 There is, however, a further related point. It was a recurring feature of the evidence
that I heard from a number of Mr Litvinenko’s friends and associates that during
the time that he was in hospital he told them that he believed that Mr Scaramella
had poisoned him on 1 November, and that he either delayed in telling them, or did
not tell them at all, about his meeting with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun on the same
day. Evidence to this effect was given by Yuri Shvets,167 Vladimir Bukovsky168 and
Akhmed Zakayev;169 and Boris Berezovsky’s witness statement is to a similar effect.170
3.137 The reluctance on the part of Mr Litvinenko to tell his friends about his meeting with
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun on the day that he became ill cannot be explained by
his strategy to try to lure the two men back into the jurisdiction, since these were
private conversations with trusted friends. The answer seems to lie in what Mr Shvets
described as Mr Litvinenko’s “wounded professional pride”. He said:
“He was agonised by the understanding that as a professional he failed. … He was
always saying that I can identify my enemy a mile away,… that I am a professional.
But this particular case when it comes to his own life he badly failed.” 171
Mr Zakayev, in a similar vein, explained that Mr Litvinenko, as a former FSB officer,
had advised him on his personal security and had warned him that; “they might
send a person from my past to me, someone who I’d had good relations with… it
[was] that person that the threat would come from”. He said that Mr Litvinenko was
“embarrassed” that, “exactly this scenario… was turned against him.” 172
3.138 These insights are, in my view, convincing. They are also valuable, because they
suggest that Mr Litvinenko’s accounts of his meetings with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
– in particular, perhaps, his description of their meeting on 1 November – must be
approached with some caution. It may be that these accounts contain some infelicities,
added by Mr Litvinenko in an attempt to salve his wounded pride.
3.139 If the contemporaneous documents give rise to some uncertainty as to whom
Mr Litvinenko believed had poisoned him, there is no ambiguity as to whom he
thought bore ultimate responsibility. Mr Berezovsky recalled that when he visited him
in hospital Mr Litvinenko “insisted that it was a direct order of Putin”, although at that
stage Mr Berezovsky disagreed with him.173 Several days later, towards the end of his
interviews with DI Hyatt, Mr Litvinenko stated:
“I have no doubt whatsoever that this was done by the Russian Secret Services.
Having knowledge of the system I know that the order about such a killing of a
citizen of another country on its territory, especially if it [is] something to do with
Great Britain could have been given by only one person.”
When DI Hyatt asked who that person was, Mr Litvinenko replied, “That person is the
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin”.174 A few days later, as we shall
see, Mr Litvinenko was to make a similar accusation in his final statement, which was
published and widely circulated after his death.
167

Shvets 24/89-93
Bukovsky 26/100-101
169
Zakayev 26/153-154
170
Berezovsky 25/20-21
171
Shvets 24/92-93
172
Zakayev 26/156-157
173
Berezovsky 25/19-20
174
INQ016642 (page 5)
168

41

The Litvinenko Inquiry

The photo and the deathbed statement
3.140 On Tuesday 21 November 2006, a photographer visited UCH and took the photograph
of Mr Litvinenko lying in his bed that became the iconic image of this case.175 I heard
some evidence about the circumstances in which the photograph was taken.
3.141 Mr Goldfarb said that the idea for the photograph was his. He said that there had been
a “crowd” of press outside UCH following the publication of Mr Leppard’s article on
Sunday 19 November, and he thought that a photograph would be a way of creating
extra interest in the story. He said that Mr Litvinenko was “adamant” about, “letting the
world know that he has been poisoned by the Kremlin”, and that he approved the idea
of the photograph.176 Marina Litvinenko stated that she was against the idea because
at that time she still hoped that Mr Litvinenko would survive, but she confirmed that
Mr Litvinenko agreed both to the photograph being taken and to it being published.177
Lord Bell, whose agency arranged for the photograph to be taken, gave evidence
before me. He recalled that Mr Litvinenko had been “particularly keen that people
should see what had happened to him”, and that, to that end, he had pulled his hospital
gown to one side when the photograph was taken so that all the medical equipment
was visible.178
3.142 It was on the same day, 21 November, that Mr Litvinenko signed what has become
known as his deathbed statement. On the day after Mr Litvinenko’s death, the
statement was read to the media by Mr Goldfarb at a press conference held outside
UCH, and was thereafter published widely.
3.143 The statement was short, and was in the following terms:179
“I would like to thank many people. My doctors, nurses and hospital staff who are
doing all they can for me; the British Police who are pursuing my case with rigour
and professionalism and are watching over me and my family. I would like to thank
the British Government for taking me under their care. I am honoured to be a
British citizen.
I would like to thank the British public for their messages of support and for the
interest they have shown in my plight.
I thank my wife, Marina, who has stood by me. My love for her and our son knows
no bounds.
But as I lie here I can distinctly hear the beating of wings of the angel of death. I
may be able to give him the slip but I have to say my legs do not run as fast as I
would like. I think, therefore, that this may be the time to say one or two things to
the person responsible for my present condition.
You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have
shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have
claimed.
You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilised value.
175

INQ019299
Goldfarb 5/155-156
177
Marina Litvinenko 4/66-67
178
Bell 6/22
179
INQ017399
176

42

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust
of civilised men and women.
You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the
world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God
forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its
people.”
The statement was signed in manuscript by Mr Litvinenko, and dated
21 November 2006.
3.144 Doubts have been expressed as to the authenticity of this statement, or at least as
to the extent to which it represented Mr Litvinenko’s views. I therefore took detailed
evidence on this subject. The key witnesses, who all gave oral evidence, were George
Menzies, who was Mr Litvinenko’s solicitor,180 Mr Goldfarb,181 Marina Litvinenko182 and
Lord Bell.183
3.145 My conclusions regarding the so called deathbed statement are as follows:
a. The witnesses were agreed that the idea of the statement did not originate from
Mr Litvinenko. Mr Menzies recalled the idea being suggested to him by a press
consultant (not Lord Bell); Mr Goldfarb thought that the idea had emerged,
“between me and George Menzies and Sasha”
b. Mr Goldfarb emphasised that the idea had emerged “naturally” because
Mr Litvinenko “was so adamant in trying to get across the message that the
Kremlin and Putin poisoned him”. This is certainly consistent with other evidence
that I have heard about Mr Litvinenko’s thinking at this time
c. Marina Litvinenko was opposed to the idea of the statement because, as with the
photograph, she still believed that Mr Litvinenko would survive – she said that
preparing the statement was like giving up
d. Mr Menzies drafted the statement. The draft was prepared in English; there was
never a Russian version. Mr Menzies dictated the statement and had it typed by
his secretary. He had not discussed the statement in terms with Mr Litvinenko
at that point, but he had visited him in hospital and discussed the possible
causes of his illness, and the content of the draft statement reflected Mr Menzies’
understanding of Mr Litvinenko’s state of mind
e. Mr Menzies and Mr Goldfarb initially took the statement to Lord Bell. He was
against the idea of the statement because he felt it read like a deathbed statement,
and he still hoped that Mr Litvinenko would recover
f.

Mr Goldfarb and Mr Menzies took the statement to UCH on 21 November. They
showed it to Marina Litvinenko, who approved it and agreed that it should be
shown to Mr Litvinenko

g. All three then went into Mr Litvinenko’s room. Mr Goldfarb read the statement
to him in Russian. Mr Litvinenko then asked for a pen and signed the statement
180

Menzies 6/6-17
Goldfarb 5/148-155
182
Marina Litvinenko 4/67-69
183
Bell 6/23-25
181

43

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Menzies, Mr Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko all told me that they were satisfied
that Mr Litvinenko agreed with the content of the statement. I would add in this
regard that the statement is consistent with views expressed by Mr Litvinenko to
others at around this time, notably in his police interviews

Alexander Litvinenko’s death
3.146 Tuesday 21 November and Wednesday 22 November were the last days that
Mr Litvinenko was conscious. He had lost consciousness by Thursday 23 November
and died that evening.
3.147 At some point during this period Mr Zakayev brought an imam to Mr Litvinenko’s
bedside. The evidence of both Marina Litvinenko184 and Mr Zakayev185 was that
Mr Litvinenko, who had been baptised into the Russian Orthodox church, had expressed
a desire to convert to Islam after talking with Mr Zakayev about his faith whilst he was
still in Barnet Hospital. Mr Zakayev spoke the shahada with Mr Litvinenko, and later
arranged the visit of the imam to UCH, with Marina Litvinenko’s consent. Mr Zakayev’s
evidence to me was that he believed Mr Litvinenko died as a Muslim.
3.148 Mr Litvinenko’s father, Walter, travelled from Russia and arrived at the hospital on
21 November.
3.149 As Marina Litvinenko was leaving Mr Litvinenko’s bedside on the evening of
22 November, he told her that he loved her.186 Those proved to be the last words that
he spoke to her. He remained unconscious throughout the next day.
3.150 Mr Litvinenko suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at 8.51pm on 23 November. The evidence
of Mr Down, an intensive care consultant on duty at UCH that evening, was that
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was commenced but was terminated when
it became clear that Mr Litvinenko would not regain spontaneous cardiac output.
Mr Down pronounced life extinct at 9.21pm that evening. He confirmed that
Mr Litvinenko died from multiple organ failure including progressive heart failure.187

184

Marina Litvinenko 4/69-71
Zakayev 26/157-159
186
Marina Litvinenko 4/73
187
Down 18/144
185

44

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

Chapter 5: Scientific examination of
Alexander Litvinenko’s body
3.151 Many scientific investigations and tests have been conducted on Mr Litvinenko’s body,
and on samples taken from it. This process started before Mr Litvinenko’s death with
the array of tests that were commissioned by the treating clinicians. At the same time,
frequent observations were taken and recorded in Mr Litvinenko’s medical notes. I
have referred to some of the tests and observations above. I have also referred to
the tests conducted on samples of Mr Litvinenko’s blood and urine at AWE, which
revealed for the first time excess levels of polonium in his body.
3.152 The process of testing and investigation continued after Mr Litvinenko’s death, first
with a post mortem examination and thereafter with a series of tests on samples taken
from his body. This process has generated a considerable quantity of data, which has
been set out and analysed in a series of statements and reports written by a variety
of experts. All this material has been in evidence before me.
3.153 This scientific material has not been put into the public domain prior to these
proceedings (although some of it was used as the basis for a paper published in a
scientific journal in 2007).188
3.154 I am aware that some commentators have suggested that there may be something
sinister about the fact that this material has not so far been presented publicly – for
example, that it may be part of a cover up orchestrated by the British government.
I would simply observe that it is normal in this jurisdiction for medical and scientific
reports and records of this type not to be made public until they have been used in
court proceedings relating to the death. In Mr Litvinenko’s case, this Inquiry is the first
substantive set of proceedings that has taken place with regard to his death. I would
not therefore have expected this material to have been published prior to my Inquiry.
I should add that my team and I have studied thousands of government documents
that relate to Mr Litvinenko’s death. They do not contain anything to suggest that
there has been deliberate concealment of relevant material. The fact that this material
has not hitherto been put into the public domain is simply a consequence of normal
procedures being followed, albeit that in this case – given its exceptional features – it
has taken longer than normal for those procedures to run their course.
3.155 Further and in any event, all this material has now been published by the Inquiry.
Anyone who wishes to refer to the detail of the scientific investigation that has taken
place may now access the underlying documents by means of the Inquiry website.
The key documents are tabulated at Appendix 8.
3.156 What I propose to do in the remainder of this section of the Report is to identify
the more important conclusions that the scientists have reached as a result of their
analysis, and to consider the evidence that I received in respect of those conclusions.

The raised levels of polonium 210 in Mr Litvinenko’s body
3.157 As I have already noted, the first tests that identified raised levels of polonium 210 in
Mr Litvinenko’s body were the tests conducted at the AWE in Aldermaston on 21 and
22 November 2006 – i.e. very shortly before Mr Litvinenko’s death.189
188
189

“Polonium-210 as a poison” by Harrison et al – Journal of Radiological Protection 27, 17-40; 2007 INQ017269
INQ022258

45

The Litvinenko Inquiry

3.158 Following Mr Litvinenko’s death, measurements of polonium 210 were taken using
tissue samples from Mr Litvinenko’s lung, spleen, kidneys and liver, using gamma ray
spectrometry. These tests showed raised levels in each of the organs, with the highest
result (49,000Bq per g of tissue) in the kidney sample and the lowest (3,500Bq per g
of tissue) in the lung sample. These findings are recorded in Dr Harrison’s statement
dated 26 April 2007.190
3.159 In a further statement dated 27 October 2010,191 Dr Harrison reported the results of
similar gamma spectrometry tests on other samples taken from Mr Litvinenko’s body
after his death, namely samples of mesentery, testicle, muscle, brain, bile, heart, skin
and blood. The results of these tests appear to have been consistent with those of the
earlier tests.

The total intake of polonium 210
3.160 Dr Harrison used the results of the gamma ray spectrometry tests on tissue samples
to estimate Mr Litvinenko’s likely total intake of polonium 210. He described his
calculations, and the assumptions that he made in performing this exercise, in his
statement of 26 April 2007.192 He stated that the best estimate of intake was 4.4Gbq
of polonium 210.
3.161 The further testing reported in 2010 broadly supported the earlier estimate, although
the test on the blood sample indicated that the intake might have been slightly lower
at 4.1Gbq.
3.162 This analysis is also discussed at paragraphs 5 to 9 of the experts’ joint report dated
February 2014.193

The route of intake: ingestion or inhalation?
3.163 I have already referred to the fact that Dr Harrison’s gamma ray spectrometry testing
in 2007 indicated a relatively low concentration of polonium 210 in lung tissue.
Dr Harrison calculated that, given these values, only about 5 per cent of the total
amount of polonium 210 in Mr Litvinenko’s body could have been inhaled.
3.164 On this basis, Dr Harrison explained that he, “dismissed inhalation as a route of intake
and concentrated on ingestion as a route of intake.” 194 The fact that polonium 210
was discovered in the lung tissue, albeit in relatively low quantities, did not require a
conclusion that any polonium had been inhaled: the finding was equally consistent
with polonium being distributed through blood following ingestion.195
3.165 The formal conclusion expressed by Dr Harrison on this point in his report dated
26 April 2007 was that, “The low concentration of polonium-210 in lung tissue
is consistent with inhalation being a minor route of intake.” He then proceeded to
calculate the likely total intake on the basis of intake solely by ingestion. In his oral
evidence, Dr Harrison stated that the low value for retention in lung tissue, “indicates
that inhalation wasn’t an important route of intake”.196
190

INQ007633
INQ007656
192
INQ007633
193
INQ016745 (pages 3-5)
194
Harrison 19/26
195
Harrison 19/34
196
Harrison 19/34
191

46

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

3.166 As I understand Dr Harrison’s evidence on this point, his view is that in this case there
was certainly a major intake of polonium 210 by ingestion. There may have been an
additional, but minor, intake by inhalation, or there may in fact have been no intake by
inhalation at all.
3.167 I also note in this regard an observation made in the course of oral evidence by
Dr Swift, one of the two pathologists who conducted the post mortem. He stated that,
whilst it was not possible to state with certainty the route by which the polonium 210
had entered Mr Litvinenko’s body; “given the clinically recognised severe pharyngeal,
so the back of the throat, and oesophageal, the food pipe or gullet, inflammation, it
has most likely entered the body through oral means.” 197
3.168 The conclusion that most if not all of the polonium 210 found in Mr Litvinenko’s
body had been ingested rather than inhaled is relevant, amongst other things, to the
question of whether Mr Litvinenko’s death could have been an accident. Put shortly,
it seems less likely that he could have accidentally eaten something than that he
accidentally inhaled something. I shall return to this point in due course.

The medical cause of Mr Litvinenko’s death
3.169 The evidence on this issue comprised two lines of scientific investigation and analysis,
which were, to an extent at least, interdependent.

The pathologists
3.170 First, there was the evidence of the two pathologists, Dr Cary and Dr Swift, who
conducted Mr Litvinenko’s post mortem.198 The post mortem took place at the Royal
London Hospital on 1 December 2006. Special safety precautions were taken
because of the radioactivity that was then still present in Mr Litvinenko’s body. Even
so, Dr Cary stated that the procedure had been: “one of the most dangerous postmortem examinations ever undertaken in the Western world”.199
3.171 Dr Cary summarised his findings in the form of six conclusions, with which Dr Swift
agreed. I shall record those conclusions here.
3.172 First, Dr Cary stated that:
“the changes in the internal organs are typical of those seen at the end stage
of multi-organ failure in an intensive care setting. There is no macroscopic
evidence, and by that I mean to the naked eye, of any underlying natural disease
process that would have preceded the presentation with an acute illness on
3 November 2006.” 200
3.173 Second, Dr Cary noted that due to the hazardous nature of the tissue samples that he
had taken from Mr Litvinenko’s body, he was unable to follow what would otherwise
have been the routine procedure of examining these samples under the microscope
to try to obtain further information about the cause of death. That said, Dr Cary
observed that the medical records from Mr Litvinenko’s time in hospital provided
useful information in this regard – there was clear documentation, for example, of
197

Swift 2/90-91
INQ003002; Cary 2/17-82; INQ003187; Swift 2/82-99
199
Cary 2/42
200
Cary 2/64
198

47

The Litvinenko Inquiry

bone marrow failure, multi-organ failure and the development of alopecia. Dr Cary
stated; “when you look at all these together, they provide clinical corroboration for the
fact that the deceased suffered acute radiation exposure due to ingestion of polonium
210”.201
3.174 Third, Dr Cary noted the findings, made through analysis of samples taken both before
and after Mr Litvinenko’s death, that he had ingested a quantity of polonium 210.202
3.175 Fourth, Dr Cary noted the findings of Dr Harrison and his colleagues (to which I shall
refer further below), to the effect that Mr Litvinenko had ingested a quantity of polonium
210 that was far in excess of known survivability limits.
3.176 Fifth, Dr Cary concluded:
“I am entirely satisfied that on the basis of both the calculated exposure of the
internal organs to radiation and the deceased’s downhill clinical course a cause of
death of acute radiation syndrome may be recorded.” 203
3.177 Sixth, Dr Cary listed a number of possibilities in relation to the final mode of death,
namely:
“(i) Due to bone marrow failure there was a final episode of sepsis, including as a
possibility due to fungal infection with this sepsis resulting in cardiorespiratory
arrest.
(ii) Due to metabolic consequences of organ failure (particularly the liver and
kidney) cardiorespiratory arrest occurred.
(iii) Due to primary effects of radiation on the heart itself an ultimately fatal heart
rhythm disturbance developed resulting in cardiorespiratory arrest.
(iv) A combination of some or all of the above.” 204

Dr Harrison and his colleagues
3.178 In one of his written reports, Dr Harrison explained the mechanism by which the alpha
particles emitted by polonium 210 cause damage within the human body. He said:
“Ionizing radiations, including gamma rays and alpha particles can kill cells by
damaging biological molecules within them, including DNA. Alpha particles are
particularly effective at killing cells because, although they only travel short
distances (a few cell widths), they deposit a lot of energy along their paths. They
can be thought of as atomic bullets, capable of killing at a cellular level. Enough
alpha particles will kill enough cells to cause gross tissue damage, organ failure
and death.” 205
3.179 Having ascertained (see above) that Mr Litvinenko had ingested approximately 4.4Gbq
of polonium 210, Dr Harrison was able to calculate the quantity of radiation that would
have been generated within Mr Litvinenko’s body, and to compare those figures with
201

Cary 2/64-66
Cary 2/66
203
INQ003002 (page 7); Cary 2/67
204
INQ003002 (page 7); Cary 2/67-68
205
INQ007633 (page 5)
202

48

Part 3 | Chapters 1 to 5 | Alexander Litvinenko

scientific tables giving expected survival periods following exposure to radiation.
Dr Harrison explained this analysis in detail in both his written and oral evidence.206
3.180 The conclusion that Dr Harrison drew from this analysis was clear. He stated:
“Death is the inevitable outcome of the radiation doses estimated to have been
received by Mr Litvinenko’s red bone marrow, kidneys and liver. Bone marrow
failure is likely to be an important contributory cause of death occurring within a
few weeks of intake, as a component of multiple organ failure.” 207
3.181 The experts’ joint statement comments, at paragraph 25:208
“It can be stated with certainty that Mr Litvinenko died as a consequence of an
intake of polonium 210.”

The number and timing of the doses of polonium 210 ingested
by Mr Litvinenko
3.182 Scientific analysis of samples of Mr Litvinenko’s hair was consistent with there having
been more than one intake of polonium 210. The hair analysis suggested that there
had been two intakes, the earlier being about a hundred times smaller than the later.209
3.183 The scientific evidence did not produce a definitive timing for the second and larger
intake of polonium. That said, I heard that Mr Litvinenko’s medical records, and in
particular the rise in levels of circulating neutrophils (white blood cells) recorded on
3 November and 5 November, were consistent with the fatal intake having taken place
on 1 November.210 As we shall see, there is independent evidence which strongly
indicates that that is when the second intake occurred.
3.184 As to the timing of the earlier intake, the scientific evidence may be summarised as
follows:
a.

It was common ground that it was not possible to determine the precise date upon
which the earlier intake had occurred. As the experts put it in their joint report:
“[the] evidence does not enable precise interpretation in terms of relative
times of intake because of uncertainties over the rate of hair growth and the
possible effect of radiation exposure on hair growth.”

b.

Accordingly, the scientists estimated a period during which the earlier intake had
taken place, assuming that the later intake had occurred on 1 November

c.

Dr Harrrison, Dr Gent and A1 concluded that the earlier intake had probably taken
place between 18 October and 23 October 211

d.

Dr Black, who conducted his analysis on a different basis, estimated that the
earlier intake had taken place between 14 and 18 October 212

206

INQ007633; Harrison 19/32-67
INQ007633 (page 7)
208
INQ016745 (page 9)
209
INQ016745 (page 10)
210
INQ007633 (page 7)
211
INQ016745 (page 10)
212
INQ014291 (page 8)
207

49

The Litvinenko Inquiry

e.

213

The evidence that Mr Litvinenko vomited and was feeling unwell on the evening
of 16 October should not be taken as a strong indication that the first intake of
polonium had occurred on that day. The scientists were cautious as to whether
the similar ‘prodromal’ symptoms that Mr Litvinenko suffered on the evening of
1 November had been caused by the very much higher intake of polonium on that
day.213 The symptoms that Mr Litvinenko suffered on 16 October must, therefore,
be an even less reliable indicator of a postulated weaker intake of polonium on
that day

INQ016745 (page 9)

50

Part 4: Why would anyone wish to kill
Alexander Litvinenko?
Chapter 1:

Introduction

4.1

On the evidence that I have heard, Alexander Litvinenko lived a most eventful life in the
United Kingdom (UK) between 2000 and 2006. He involved himself in a wide range of
activities, many, as before, focused on challenging corruption in the Federal Security
Service (FSB) and on combating organised crime. He also had to try to find a way of
making a living in the UK using the skills and contacts that he had acquired as an FSB
officer in Russia. The evidence suggests that, in the course of such activities, and just
as he had in Russia, Mr Litvinenko may have made some dangerous enemies.

4.2

The purpose of this Part of the Report is to review the evidence that I have heard, both
as to what Mr Litvinenko was doing during this period, and as to whom his activities
might have upset. The question that underpins this exercise, and that I will come to
address later in this Report, is simple: could any of Mr Litvinenko’s activities during
this period have provided a motive for murder?

51

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 2:
4.3

Enemy of the Russian State?

On 24 November 2006, the day after Mr Litvinenko’s death, Sergey Abeltsev, a
member of the Russian State Duma, made a speech on the floor of the Duma in
which he said:
“Last night Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital. The deserved
punishment reached the traitor. I am confident that this terrible death will be a
serious warning to traitors of all colours wherever they are located. In Russia, they
do not pardon treachery.” 1

4.4

On the same day, President Putin made comments to the media about Mr Litvinenko’s
death with what Professor Service described as, “a verbal levity that border[ed] on the
macabre”. For example, President Putin observed that, “the people that have done
this are not God, and Mr Litvinenko is, unfortunately, not Lazarus.” 2

4.5

Mr Abeltsev is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party in Russia. The leader of
that party, Vladimir Zhironovsky, described Mr Litvinenko following his death as a
“scoundrel” and a “traitor” and suggested that he had been killed by MI6 on behalf of
the FSB.3

4.6

During a radio interview in February 2007, Mr Gusak, Mr Litvinenko’s former colleague
in the FSB, expressed the view that Mr Litvinenko had deserved to be executed.4

4.7

The language that I have quoted in these paragraphs is couched in the strongest
terms. But it appears that, although extreme, such language does not misrepresent
the way in which a section, at least, of the Russian people and government regarded
Mr Litvinenko. Professor Service, who approached his analysis of these matters with
commendable caution, gave oral evidence to the effect that, by the time of his death,
Mr Litvinenko had come to be regarded as an enemy of the Russian State.5

4.8

What was it that Mr Litvinenko had done to earn such posthumous opprobrium?

Perceived betrayal of the FSB
4.9

There is strong evidence that Mr Litvinenko was regarded by those within the FSB as
someone who had betrayed that organisation.

4.10 The starting point is the sequence of events that culminated in the November 1998 press
conference. As I have described above, (see paragraph 3.60 – 3.62) Mr Litvinenko’s
escalating protest against what he regarded as the unlawful orders that he and his
colleagues in the Department for the Investigation and Prevention of Organised Crime
(URPO) had been given, was challenged at every stage by his superiors. There is
evidence that Mr Kovalyev, the Head of the FSB, regarded Mr Litvinenko’s actions in
telling Mr Berezovsky of the order that he claimed to have received to kill him as a,
“betrayal of the interests of the security services” (see paragraph 3.52 above). I also
heard evidence that Mr Putin, Mr Kovalyev’s successor as head of the FSB, publicly
criticised Mr Litvinenko and his colleagues for going public with their allegations at the
1

Goldfarb 26/123; Emmerson 1/147
INQ019146 (page 14-15 paragraph 45)
3
HMG000358 (page 3)
4
HMG000353
5
Service 28/71 lines 1-4
2

52

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

November 1998 press conference,6 and that the prosecutor, Mr Barsukov, told Marina
Litvinenko that the charges he was bringing against Mr Litvinenko were a response to
the press conference (see paragraph 3.68 above).
4.11 Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was that the decision that she and her husband made to
leave Russia was based in part on a fear that the FSB retribution against Mr Litvinenko
for what it regarded as his act of betrayal would end either in his indefinite detention
or, worse, in his death. I have referred to Mr Felshtinsky’s evidence that General
Kokholkhov told him in May 2000 that if he came across Mr Litvinenko in a dark
corner, “he would kill him with his own hands” (see paragraph 3.76 above).
4.12 The evidence suggests that Mr Litvinenko’s flight from Russia did not soften in any
way the FSB’s view of him. During the course of his interviews with Detective Inspector
(DI) Hyatt, Mr Litvinenko described a phone call that he had received on his mobile
telephone from his former URPO colleague Mr Ponkin. He said that he had received
the call in April or May 2001 (i.e. a few months after his arrival in the UK), whilst
visiting Mr Bukovsky at his home. Mr Litvinenko recalled that Mr Ponkin had said that
he had just been questioned at the Military Prosecutor’s Office by Mr Barsukov. He
told DI Hyatt:
“Ponkin said that Barsukov asked him to give me a message that I should as soon
as possible return to my country by myself, and then nothing will happen to me.
And if you do not return yourself then you will either be brought back in a body bag,
or you will be pushed under the train. And he also asked to tell me that… my wife
Marina shouldn’t be afraid of anything and she could travel freely, no one will touch
her. I replied to Ponkin that this is very nice offer but I refuse it… that conversation
I straight away re-told to Mr Bukovsky.” 7
4.13 When he gave oral evidence to me, Mr Bukovsky recalled what sounded very much
like the same incident. He described Mr Litvinenko receiving a call from “some former
colleague from Lubyanka” whilst visiting him at his home in around 2002 “very soon
after… his escape.” He said that Mr Litvinenko had become “rather gloomy” as the
call went on, and he had inferred from hearing one side of the conversation that
Mr Litvinenko was being threatened. He recalled that, when the telephone conversation
had finished, Mr Litvinenko recounted to him the substance of the call in the following
terms, “do you feel safe, secure in Britain; come on, remember Trotsky”. 8
4.14 A continuing interest in Mr Litvinenko on the part of the Russian authorities may also
perhaps be evidenced by the continuation (indeed, it appears the escalation) of the
criminal proceedings against him in Russia following his departure. I admitted into
evidence a letter dated 3 May 2002 sent by Mr Litvinenko’s Russian lawyer, named
Mr Marov, to Mr Menzies, the British lawyer assisting Mr Litvinenko with his asylum
claim.9 Mr Marov’s letter indicated that a further (i.e. a fourth) set of proceedings had
been instituted against Mr Litvinenko, and that the prosecutor wished to proceed with
a trial in Mr Litvinenko’s absence. The letter also cited a number of what were said to
be instances of lack of due process on the part of the prosecutor. I am aware that the
ongoing proceedings against Mr Litvinenko in Russia gave rise to at least one attempt
on the part of the Russian authorities to secure his extradition. Unsurprisingly given
Mr Litvinenko’s successful asylum claim, the request was not granted. Mrs Litvinenko
6

INQ017734 (page 10, paragraph 34); Marina Litvinenko 3/137 lines 4-11
INQ016642 (page 7)
8
Bukovsky 26/95-96
9
HMG000078
7

53

The Litvinenko Inquiry

gave evidence that Mr Litvinenko was convicted on one of the extant sets of
proceedings against him in Russia during 2002.10
4.15 Just as the evidence suggests that the FSB’s anger at what some at least of its
members appear to have regarded as Mr Litvinenko’s betrayal of his old organisation
did not diminish on his departure from Russia, so it is reasonable to speculate that
such feelings of betrayal in fact increased over the following years. As I shall describe
below, Mr Litvinenko wrote books that accused the FSB of corruption and also of
responsibility for the mass murder of hundreds of Russian citizens in the so-called
‘apartment bombings’ of 1999. Further, there was certainly a belief amongst some
FSB officers and others that Mr Litvinenko had started to work for MI6 following his
arrival in the UK.
4.16 It is therefore at least possible that Mr Litvinenko’s profile amongst members of the
FSB (and also perhaps amongst the wider military establishment) as an insider who
had betrayed his own organisation did not decline following the press conference and
Mr Litvinenko’s departure from Russia, but in fact increased between 2000 and 2006.
4.17 There is one striking piece of evidence that seems to corroborate this point. I saw video
evidence of Russian soldiers using targets featuring Mr Litvinenko’s face for target
practice.11 Mrs Litvinenko gave oral evidence about this.12 She said that both she and
Mr Litvinenko had heard that this was going on at some point in 2006, certainly before
his death. Police enquiries suggested that the video footage was taken at the Vityaz
special forces training centre in Balashikha.13 Mrs Litvinenko said that Mr Litvinenko
had been a member of the Vityaz force in his early career before joining the FSB.

Membership of Boris Berezovsky’s circle
4.18 I have referred several times to the close relationship between Mr Litvinenko and
Boris Berezovsky. It began in the mid 1990s when Mr Litvinenko was assigned to
investigate an attempted assassination of Mr Berezovsky. Mr Litvinenko subsequently
earned Mr Berezovsky’s gratitude when he protected him from arrest in connection
with the murder of Mr Listyev. I have explained in Part 3 above the role that
Mr Berezovsky played in the whistleblowing saga, and in particular his attempts to
support Mr Litvinenko’s demands for reform of the FSB.
4.19 At the time of those events, Mr Berezovsky enjoyed considerable political influence as
a close associate of President Yeltsin. As I indicated above, at the time of the November
1998 press conference, Mr Berezovsky regarded himself as a friend of Mr Putin, who
had replaced Mr Kovalyev as head of the FSB. Moreover, as Mr Felshtinsky explained
in evidence, Mr Berezovsky appears to have had (or at least claimed to have had) a
role in the events that led to Mr Putin being elected President in 2000.14
4.20 This friendship, however, did not last. As Professor Service has explained:
“Tension between Putin and Berezovski started almost as soon as Yeltsin resigned
the Presidency in December 1999. Berezovski relished the reputation of kingmaker. He claimed responsibility for Putin’s rise to the Presidency, and no doubt his
10

Marina Litvinenko 3/94; COM00002001; COM00003001
INQ017680 [video]
12
Marina Litvinenko 4/31-32; 4/41; 4/112-114
13
Marina Litvinenko 4/113; INQ016447
14
Felshtinsky 23/128-131
11

54

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

bouncy condescension grated upon Putin. When Putin took decisions that clashed
with Berezovski’s interests, Berezovski instructed the national TV station under his
control to criticise Putin. Berezovski quickly lost the contest. Putin told him directly
that no businessman, however high and mighty, was going to determine public
policy any longer.” 15
4.21 Mr Berezovsky left Russia at the end of 2000 and became a political exile in London,
where he claimed, and was ultimately granted, asylum. I heard evidence from Professor
Service, Mr Goldfarb and others that, following his arrival in London, Mr Berezovsky
used his great wealth to become a vocal critic of President Putin, and to fund others
to do likewise. It was also clear that Mr Litvinenko played a leading role in this respect
– as Professor Service put it, “Berezovski encouraged and financed emigres who
shared his hostility to Putin, and Litvinenko was the most prominent and ebullient of
them.” 16 Another of this group of emigres in Mr Berezovsky’s circle was the Chechen
leader Akhmed Zakayev. As I have mentioned above, Mr Litvinenko and Mr Zakayev
became very close friends, and their two families lived so close to each other that they
regarded themselves as neighbours.
4.22 I will turn shortly to consider the various activities upon which Mr Litvinenko became
engaged during this period, and the causes that he espoused. Before doing so,
however, it is worth noting a point that Mr Goldfarb made in evidence, namely that
Mr Litvinenko was putting himself at risk simply by associating with two men who
were, as he put it, “demonised by Russian propaganda as arch enemies.” Extradition
requests in respect of both Mr Berezovsky and Mr Zakayev were vigorously pursued
by the Russian government. Mr Zakayev was, in Mr Goldfarb’s words, “characterised
by [the] Russian foreign minister as [the] Russian Osama Bin Laden and accused of
gross terrorism,” while Mr Berezovsky was, “depicted by the Russian propaganda as
somebody who sponsors terrorism.” Mr Goldfarb said that, “an association with Boris
and with Zakayev … was [a] kind of kiss of death, if you want”. 17
4.23 I note, of course, that this is no more than a contextual matter, and that Mr Goldfarb is
not (and would not, I think, claim to be) a neutral commentator on these events. But
the point that he makes has a resonance with a point made by Professor Service in
the expert report that he prepared:
“Some kind of action by the FSB against Berezovski and his associates, especially
Litvinenko, was made likely by their sustained media campaign against the Putin
administration. The form of such action could not be predicted.” 18
4.24 I also note that, on the evidence I have heard, there appear to have been at least two
occasions during this period on which Mr Litvinenko became involved in potentially
dangerous incidents as a consequence of his connection with Mr Berezovsky.
4.25 First, in 2003, Mr Litvinenko was one of those in Mr Berezovsky’s entourage who became
involved with a man named Mr Terluk. Mr Litvinenko made a lengthy contemporaneous
statement about these events for the purposes of Mr Berezovsky’s asylum appeal,
which I have admitted into evidence.19 According to that statement, Mr Terluk claimed
in 2003 to have been instructed by an official from the Russian Embassy in London
15

INQ019146 (page 24 paragraph 75)
INQ019146 (page 25 paragraph 77)
17
Goldfarb 26/122
18
INQ019146 (page 25 paragraph 79)
19
BER000167
16

55

The Litvinenko Inquiry

to conduct what appeared to have been some form of reconnaissance exercise for
a possible attempt to assassinate Mr Berezovsky, perhaps by poisoning him. I am
aware that, in more recent years, Mr Terluk has given a very different version of these
events, which was the subject of contested defamation proceedings in the High Court
in London.20 I should make it clear that, whilst I have read and taken into account
the findings of Mr Justice Eady in the defamation proceedings, I have not sought to
investigate the true facts of this episode, which are highly contentious and of only
peripheral importance to my Terms of Reference.
4.26 The second incident that I have in mind took place in October 2004, when the houses
of both Mr Litvinenko and Mr Zakayev were firebombed, apparently by two Chechen
men who were in dispute with Mr Berezovsky. The evidence that I have about this
episode, which is limited, suggests that the dispute had arisen over a payment that
one of the Chechen men claimed he was owed for a trip to Paris, which he said he
had made at Mr Berezovsky’s request, in connection with a deal relating to the plans
for a ‘nuclear suitcase bomb’. Prior to the firebombing of his house, Mr Litvinenko had
been attempting to mediate on Mr Berezovsky’s behalf.21
4.27 As with the Terluk episode, I am not in a position to make any findings as to the rights
and wrongs of this episode, which took place more than ten years ago. I refer to the
two incidents because they do perhaps give a flavour of the life that Mr Litvinenko was
living, and the risks that he was running, as a member of Mr Berezovsky’s entourage
during this period.

Criticism of President Putin and his regime
4.28 It is clear on the evidence that the profile that Mr Litvinenko established during the
time that he lived in London was considerably greater than simply as a member
of Mr Berezovsky’s circle. He had a reputation of his own as a campaigner and
commentator, and an outspoken one at that. I have already referred to Professor
Service’s characterisation of Mr Litvinenko as the “most prominent and ebullient” of
the critics of President Putin around Mr Berezovsky. Professor Service added that
“Litvinenko’s denunciations were fierce”. 22
4.29 I heard from a number of witnesses, including Marina Litvinenko, Mr Goldfarb
and Mr Bukovsky, about the way in which Mr Litvinenko’s political understanding
and convictions developed following his arrival in London. It was, of course, such
convictions that underpinned his campaigning activities. Mr Bukovsky, in particular,
gave compelling evidence regarding the new understanding of Russian history in
general and the history of the KGB/FSB in particular that Mr Litvinenko developed
after he arrived in this country.23
4.30 Perhaps the most significant pieces of Mr Litvinenko’s campaigning work were the
two books that he co-authored during his early years in London. The first, published in
Russian in 2001, was subsequently published in English as Blowing Up Russia. The
second, which Mr Litvinenko wrote in 2001 and 2002, was never published in English,
but its Russian title translates as The Gang from the Lubyanka.

20

Berezovsky v RTR & Terluk [2010] EWHC 476 (QB); Terluk v Berezovsky [2011] EWCA Civ 1534
Knuckey 7/38-44; see also Mr Knuckey’s report and timeline relating to this incident: INQ019304; INQ019301
22
INQ019146 (page 25 paragraph 77)
23
Bukovsky 26/86-90; 26/109-110
21

56

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

4.31 Mr Litvinenko researched and wrote Blowing Up Russia with Mr Felshtinsky, who
had helped him and his family escape from Russia. The subject of the book was the
apartment bombings that had taken place in Russia in September 1999. Enormous
bombs had exploded, several days apart, in four apartment blocks. Nearly 300 people
had been killed, and many more injured. The blame for the bombings had been officially
attributed to Chechen separatists; this formed an important part of the context for the
start of the Second Chechen War shortly thereafter. Mr Putin was Prime Minister
at the time of the apartment bombings, having been promoted from his position as
Head of the FSB in August 1999. The reaction to the bombings and public support for
the war was one of the factors that assisted his political rise in the following months,
culminating in his election as President in March 2000.
4.32 The theory that Mr Litvinenko and Mr Felshtinsky proposed in their book was that
the apartment bombings had not been the work of Chechen terrorists at all. They
asserted, rather, that the bombings had been the work of the FSB, designed to
provide a justification for war in Chechnya and, ultimately, to boost Mr Putin’s political
prospects.
4.33 On the evidence I heard, the book was more than a political tract – it was the product
of careful research. Professor Service’s view was that the two men had “credibly
investigated” the issue and, although their contentions about it had not been “proved
100 per cent,” he considered they were more likely than not to be accurate. He said
that: “the Felshtinsky and Litvinenko book piled up the evidence pointing a very
damaging finger at the FSB and its involvement in those explosions”. 24
4.34 Mr Felshtinsky described in oral evidence how he and Mr Litvinenko had first discussed
the apartment bombings when they were together in Moscow in September 2000,
at about the time that Mr Litvinenko was deciding to leave Russia forever. They
subsequently worked on the book together after Mr Litvinenko’s arrival in London
(although the evidence was to the effect that Mr Felshtinsky took the leading role).25
The evidence was that the funding for the work that both men did in writing the book
was provided by Mr Berezovsky.26
4.35 Mr Felshtinsky gave evidence that the book was first published in August 2001 as
a special edition of the journal Novaya Gazeta, which Mr Felshtinsky described as
“a major oppositionist newspaper in Russia.” 27 One of the journalists who wrote for
Novaya Gazeta was Anna Politkovskaya, to whom I shall return. Mr Felshtinsky
said that the book’s publication: “was a big deal because the newspaper printed …
100,000 copies and they selected the best chapters for publication, so, yes, this was
a big deal.” 28
4.36 The publication of the book did not, however, mark the end of Mr Litvinenko’s
campaigning work on this issue.
4.37 As I understood Mr Goldfarb’s evidence, the publication of the book was only one
part of a larger strategy, supported and funded by Mr Berezovsky, to publicise the
allegations regarding the FSB’s responsibility for the apartment bombings. Apart from
producing and promoting the book, Mr Berezovsky also funded the making of a film
24

Service 28/30-31; 28/69-70; Felshtinsky 23/175-177
Goldfarb 27/109-110
26
Felshtinsky 23/135-137; Goldfarb 5/113-114
27
Felshtinsky 23/136-137
28
Felshtinsky 23/175 lines 14-17
25

57

The Litvinenko Inquiry

that rehearsed the allegations – which he arranged to be shown (with some fanfare,
it would seem) in March 2002 at the Royal United Services Institute in London.29
Mr Berezovsky commissioned Mr Felshtinsky and Mr Litvinenko to try to gather further
evidence about what had happened in 1999. In Moscow, Mr Berezovsky encouraged
and supported the establishment of a Commission to conduct a public investigation
into the allegations. I heard that the Commission had about 15 members, including
politicians, lawyers and journalists, as well as the daughter of one of the victims of the
bombings. The Commission was founded jointly by a Member of Parliament (MP) and
“old-time Russian dissident” 30 named Sergei Kovalyov and another MP named Sergei
Yushenkov. Another of its members was Yuri Shchekochikhin, a journalist who had
written for Novaya Gazeta about corruption in URPO at the time of Mr Litvinenko’s
press conference.31
4.38 The evidence shows that Mr Litvinenko was very much involved in this activity.
I summarise. He helped to promote the film. He undertook further investigations with
Mr Felshtinsky, including travelling with him to Georgia to try to interview a Chechen
named Ahmed Gochiyaev, who was said by the Russian authorities to have been
the mastermind behind the bombings.32 He publicly supported the Commission in
Moscow by appearing at its hearings via videolink. He drew his friend Mr Trepashkin
into working with Mr Yushenkov; Mr Trepashkin undertook his own investigations in
Moscow and discovered, for example, evidence that Mr Gochiyaev had been framed.33
Mr Litvinenko also made initial enquiries into separate allegations that the FSB might
have been involved in perpetrating the Moscow theatre siege in October 2002, another
mass casualty event that had been blamed by the Russian authorities on Chechen
terrorists. Mr Litvinenko’s enquiries into this matter involved trying to trace a Chechen
named Mr Terkibayev; I heard that these enquiries were subsequently pursued by
Mr Yushenkov, and later by Ms Politkovskaya.34
4.39 It appears that not only was Mr Litvinenko deeply involved in these interrelated
activities, but that he became something of a public figurehead for the whole enterprise.
Mr Goldfarb referred, in this context, to: “an understanding in our circle that Sasha
would be essentially the face of the campaign to inform the public opinion and the
powers that be that the FSB might have been involved in the apartment bombings.” 35
4.40 I heard that Mr Litvinenko’s second book was written between 2001 and 2002. It was
written in Russian and, although subsequently translated into Polish and Bulgarian, an
English translation has never been produced.36 Its title translates as The Gang from
the Lubyanka. Like Blowing Up Russia, this book was also funded by Mr Berezovsky.
I heard from Marina Litvinenko and from Mr Goldfarb that the book took the form of
transcripts of interviews between Mr Litvinenko and a Russian journalist named Akram
Murtazaev, which had been edited by Mr Goldfarb. The book contained a record of
Mr Litvinenko’s own experiences in Russia in the years before he had left, as well
as allegations of corruption and other criminality on behalf of the FSB in general and
Mr Putin in particular.37 The book was published in early 2002 by a company that
29

Goldfarb 26/17; Bell 6/18
Goldfarb 5/122
31
Goldfarb 5/122-123; 26/17-18; 26/26
32
Goldfarb 26/19-21; Felshtinsky 23/153-157
33
Goldfarb 26/20-21
34
Goldfarb 5/128; 26/23-25
35
Goldfarb 27/110
36
Marina Litvinenko 3/133
37
Marina Litvinenko 3/133-134; Goldfarb 5/77-79
30

58

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

Mr Goldfarb, financed by Mr Berezovsky, had set up for the purpose. It was printed
in New York and also in Latvia, in the latter case with the intention of transporting the
books into Russia.38 I will return below to what happened when this was attempted.
4.41 I should add that I heard that Mr Litvinenko, with assistance from Mr Goldfarb,
subsequently wrote an extended essay that was described as, “a distilled version
of what he had said on The Gang from the Lubyanka.” 39 That document, which was
never published, was titled The Uzbek File, and I have admitted a translated copy into
evidence.40
4.42 Unsurprisingly, these activities on the part of Mr Litvinenko and others do not appear
to have gone unnoticed by the authorities in Moscow.
4.43 I have referred above (at paragraphs 4.12 – 4.13) to the threat from Mr Barsukov
that Mr Litvinenko received whilst visiting Mr Bukovsky in about May 2001, by way of
a phone call from his former subordinate, Mr Ponkin. In a witness statement dated
10 October 2003, Mr Litvinenko suggested that he had in fact received a number of
calls from Mr Ponkin at around that time, and that Mr Ponkin had conveyed warnings
about Mr Litvinenko’s activities in the UK. In his statement Mr Litvinenko said that:
“Ponkin passed on to me threats made by the FSB to kill me and warnings not to write
books or to speak out against various matters.” 41 There were other similar incidents.
4.44 Mrs Litvinenko described an incident when an official from the Russian Embassy in
London came to the door of her flat demanding to see Mr Litvinenko.42 This evidence
appears to correspond with a letter, dated 22 March 2002, written by Mr Menzies,
Mr Litvinenko’s solicitor, to the Home Office. The letter refers to “repeated visits” being
made by an official from the Embassy, whose manner was described as “persistent
and harassing.” 43
4.45 Later in 2001, on 12 October, Mr Litvinenko received an email from his friend
Mr Trepashkin in Moscow. The email gave news of a more explicit threat that
Mr Trepashkin said he had heard from Victor Shebalin, another of Mr Litvinenko’s
former colleagues from URPO days. The first paragraph of the email made a direct
reference to Mr Litvinenko’s book The Gang from the Lubyanka. It went on (in
translation):
“I had a meeting today with Victor Shebalin, who has wide contacts with the FSB
employees as a former colonel of the FSB. During our conversation he stated,
that you are ‘sentenced’ to extrajudicial elimination, meaning that you definitely
will be killed after publication of your last book. He also asked to stress that he
will not going to do anything with his murder [sic]. He repeated this several times.
Shebalin did not say who exactly is going to eliminate you, but he hinted that such
persons do exist. (So, you can write your last will in advance.)” 44
Amongst the documentary evidence there is a further letter from Mr Menzies to the
Home Office about this email. That letter recorded Mr Litvinenko’s response to the
email, namely that he, “does not consider that there is likely to be any substance
38

Goldfarb 5/79-80
Goldfarb 26/28-30
40
INQ017384
41
INQ014928
42
Marina Litvinenko 4/18-20
43
HMG000307
44
INQ015366
39

59

The Litvinenko Inquiry

behind this threat.” 45 Subsequent events may have proved him wrong. That is one of
the matters that I have to decide.
4.46 I heard evidence from Marina Litvinenko that the FSB may have gone a step beyond
issuing threats to Mr Litvinenko, and may have tried to implicate him in a crime in
London. She recounted how, in early 2003, Mr Ponkin came to London and tried
to involve Mr Litvinenko in a plot to kill President Putin. She said that Mr Litvinenko
quickly came to the view that this was a provocation orchestrated by the FSB, and
reported the matter to the British police. Mr Ponkin and another man with whom he was
travelling were deported.46 If Mr Litvinenko was right about what Mr Ponkin was trying
to achieve, it would seem to suggest that Mr Litvinenko was a sufficiently important
target for the FSB that they were prepared to take action against him overseas.
4.47 I referred above to the arrangements that were made to print copies of The Gang from
the Lubyanka in Latvia. Mr Goldfarb described in his oral evidence how the first batch
of these books was successfully smuggled into Russia in mid 2002:47
“…we designed an elaborate scheme to have this truck with books go by land
from Riga to Moscow, and somehow we managed to get it through customs as
printed material without – nobody looked. And then it was met by Mr Trepashkin
in Moscow who arranged for warehousing, and for several kiosks in the centre of
Moscow to sell it, and I think even in the State Duma. So it was a total surprise to
the authorities when it suddenly appeared.”
Mr Goldfarb went on, however, to describe how the second shipment in early 2003,
which contained copies of both Mr Litvinenko’s books, was stopped on the highway
by the FSB, with all the books being confiscated.
4.48 In a similar vein, I heard that attempts to distribute and show Mr Berezovsky’s film
about the apartment bombings in Russia, which were led by Mr Yushenkov, were
also disrupted. As Mr Goldfarb put it in his oral evidence, “people got beaten up and
theatres were closed, and that created more scandals.” 48
4.49 I also heard evidence that these interrelated campaigns, in which Mr Litvinenko played
a key role, were disrupted by more than the seizing of books or the breaking up of
film screenings. Both Mr Yushenkov and Mr Shchekochikhin lost their lives in 2003;
Mr Yushenkov was shot dead in a Moscow street49 and Mr Shchekochikhin died in
suspicious circumstances, suspected to have been poisoned50 (I shall return to this
later). In December 2003, Mr Trepashkin, in Russia, was arrested for illegal possession
of a weapon (Mr Goldfarb suggested that the weapon had been planted by the FSB)
shortly before he was due to represent two Muslims accused of involvement in the
apartment bombings.51 When Mr Litvinenko and Mr Felshtinsky visited Georgia in an
attempt to meet Mr Gochiyaev, their driver was killed and they were told to leave the
country immediately for their own safety. Mr Terkibayev was killed in a car accident
shortly after Ms Politkovskaya had published an interview with him in Novaya Gazeta
in which he had implicated the FSB in the Moscow theatre siege.52 Ms Politkovskaya,
45

HMG000308
INQ017734 (pages 24-55 paragraphs 82-85); Marina Litvinenko 4/26-27
47
Goldfarb 5/81-82
48
Goldfarb 5/120; 26/19
49
Goldfarb 5/123
50
Goldfarb 5/123; 26/26
51
Goldfarb 5/125; 26/21-22
52
Goldfarb 26/25
46

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Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

as we shall hear, was herself murdered outside her Moscow flat only a few weeks
before Mr Litvinenko himself was killed.
4.50 I heard evidence about a number of other strands to Mr Litvinenko’s campaigning
activity during the time that he lived in London. There are two of these to which I shall
briefly refer.
4.51 First, there was clear evidence that Mr Litvinenko had a role, although not a central
one, in a project to transcribe and publicise what are sometimes referred to as the
Kuchma tapes. Put shortly, I heard that these were tapes of conversations between
Leonid Kuchma, who was then President of Ukraine and various other people. The
tapes had been secretly recorded by a member of President Kuchma’s security staff
named Nikolai Melnychenko. Mr Berezovsky became involved as one of the funders
of a project to transcribe the tapes. It appears that for a time in 2002 and again in 2005
work on the transcription was carried out in London. Although Mr Litvinenko was not
involved in the actual transcription, he met and became friendly with Mr Melnychenko
and also a man named Yuri Shvets, who had come to London from his home in the
USA for this purpose. Mr Felshtinsky also said that he was himself involved.53 We will
hear more of Mr Shvets in due course.
4.52 As Mr Goldfarb explained in his oral evidence, the particular reason for Mr Litvinenko’s
involvement in this project was the possibility that, “something could be found on
those tapes which relate[d] to the Russian situation”. 54 The evidence was to the effect
that some of the content of the tapes was indeed thought relevant to “the Russian
situation”. In particular, there were passages on the tapes that suggested links
between President Putin and organised crime, in particular Semion Mogilevich and a
company named the St Petersburg Real Estate Holding Company (SPAG), believed
to be a front company for the Tambov Group.55
4.53 Of particular importance for present purposes, I heard evidence that Mr Litvinenko
made no secret either of his involvement in this process, or of his view of what the
transcripts showed. When Mr Goldfarb was asked whether Mr Litvinenko’s involvement
with the tapes was open knowledge, he replied, “I think so because he was giving
interviews about that, particularly about SPAG and Mogilevich, I think.” 56
4.54 The other strand of Mr Litvinenko’s activism that deserves mention at this stage is his
involvement with the Chechen cause.
4.55 I have referred to Mr Litvinenko’s growing sympathy for the Chechen cause, which
appears to have started with his experiences in the First Chechen War, and developed
as a result of his friendship with Mr Zakayev following his arrival in London. The
evidence is that he took up issues related to Chechen independence and the conduct
of the Russian authorities in resisting it, and indeed much of his campaigning work
from London was done via the medium of the Chechenpress website.57
4.56 Beyond that, Mr Zakayev gave evidence that, at his request, both Mr Litvinenko and
Ms Politkovskaya served on a War Crimes Commission that had been established
under his chairmanship in 2004 by Chechnya’s President Maskhadov. Mr Zakayev
explained that both took an active part in the Committee’s work of attempting to
53

Marina Litvinenko 4/28-31; Goldfarb 26/35-37; Shvets 24/49-54; Felshtinsky 23/160
Goldfarb 26/37
55
Goldfarb 26/38-50
56
Goldfarb 26/50
57
Marina Litvinenko 3/135-136
54

61

The Litvinenko Inquiry

gather evidence of Russian war crimes in Chechnya. Mr Zakayev’s evidence was
that the fact that Mr Litvinenko and Ms Politkovskaya were serving on the Committee
was public knowledge, and that, in his view, the Russian military and FSB would
have been “afraid” that they might have faced charges in an international war crimes
tribunal as a result of the Committee’s work.58

58

Zakayev 26/144-146

62

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

Chapter 3:

Work for UK intelligence agencies

4.57 Ever since Mr Litvinenko died, there has been speculation that he may have worked
for the UK intelligence agencies. MI6 is the agency most commonly suggested. As
we shall see, such speculation was in part the result of public comments made by
Mr Lugovoy. I heard evidence on this topic from a number of witnesses.
4.58 Before turning to that evidence, I observe that the questions this issue raises with
regard to the matters that I am investigating are more complex than the binary question
of whether or not Mr Litvinenko was working for the agencies. In terms of the risks
that Mr Litvinenko may have faced, the detail is critical. If Mr Litvinenko did work for
the agencies, what type of work did he undertake? What information may he have
passed? What (and whose) secrets may he have betrayed? What may have been the
consequences? More fundamentally, the question of what Mr Litvinenko was or was
not actually doing may be less important than that of what his enemies thought he
was doing. For if there was a distinction between the two, Mr Litvinenko was unlikely
to have received the benefit of it.
4.59 Marina Litvinenko answered questions about this issue in her oral evidence.59 Her
evidence can be summarised as follows:
a. She knew that Mr Litvinenko undertook work for one of the agencies – she was
unsure whether it was MI5 or MI6. Mr Litvinenko had told her about this work. She
was also aware of monthly payments being made into their joint bank account
that she understood was payment for Mr Litvinenko’s work with the agencies
b. This work had started after Mr Litvinenko’s arrival in the UK. She did not believe
that Mr Litvinenko had had any involvement with UK agencies while he was still
living in Russia
c. She stated that Mr Litvinenko had shared with her some of the information he
was supplying to British intelligence, “but not the details”. She believed that the
information Mr Litvinenko gave to the agencies related to Russian organised
crime, including its presence in the UK. But, as I have said, she did not know the
details of what Mr Litvinenko had been doing. She had no idea, for example, as
to the accuracy or otherwise of an allegation that he had passed the names of
Russian sleeper agents in the UK to UK intelligence agencies
d. Mr Litvinenko received a payment of £2,000 per month for this work. The payments
had started in about 2004 and were made into the joint bank account that Mr and
Mrs Litvinenko shared
e. Her understanding was that Mr Litvinenko had worked for the agencies on a
consulting basis, as opposed to being one of their employees or agents (terms
that she regarded as synonymous). To her, this was an important distinction.
This was the explanation for a statement that she had given to the press in 2007
asserting that Mr Litvinenko, “was never an agent for MI6” – she did not believe
that he had been an ‘agent’, as opposed to a consultant. As she put it, “I knew
Sasha did work for MI6, or MI5, but he has never been an agent of MI6.” She had
earlier explained that she understood the term ‘agent’ to mean: “work[ing] with
the Security Service and doing undercover job, doing something abroad under
position of agent of MI6… But more important it’s be employed, employed.”
59

Marina Litvinenko 3/146-155; 4/119-120

63

The Litvinenko Inquiry

4.60

The evidence of others who were close to Mr Litvinenko was to a similar effect.

4.61 Mr Goldfarb stated that Mr Litvinenko had told him sometime in early 2003 that he
was working for MI6; he added that, “he introduced me to one of them.” He said that
Mr Litvinenko had told him that he was consulting for MI6 on Russian organised crime
in Europe and travelling to various countries in the EU to assist their law enforcement.60
4.62 Mr Berezovsky told the Metropolitan Police Service that Mr Litvinenko had worked for
what he described as “the intelligence service” and “the security services” (terms that
he appears to have used interchangeably), but added that he did not know any details
of his relations with them. He stated that:
“After he stopped working for me I understand he just kept working for the security
services. They paid him money to support himself and his family. … he later said
that he was disappointed with his working arrangements with the intelligence
service.” 61
4.63 There were others of Mr Litvinenko’s associates who appear to have been unaware,
prior to his death, that he had any possible connection with UK intelligence agencies.
Mr Reilly62 and Mr Bukovsky63 fall into this category.
4.64 I note that none of the witnesses from whom I heard and who knew Mr Litvinenko
during his life expressed the firm view that he did not have a relationship with UK
intelligence agencies.
4.65 The Home Secretary was a core participant in the Inquiry, acting in a representative
capacity for Her Majesty’s Government generally, as well as in her own right. Since
the factual issue was whether or not Mr Litvinenko worked for, or with, a government
agency, it would have been open to the Home Secretary to provide evidence
answering the point one way or another. No such evidence was provided in the open
session, and it was made clear that the Home Secretary neither confirmed nor denied
this allegation. Mr Garnham QC, who appeared on behalf of the Home Secretary,
explained the position in his opening statement, in the following terms:
“The very nature of the work of the agencies requires secrecy if it is to be effective,
and there is obvious and widely recognised need to preserve that effectiveness. It
has been, therefore, the policy of successive governments to neither confirm nor
deny (to NCND, in the jargon) assertions, allegations, or speculation in relation to
the security and intelligence agencies.
That means that, as a general rule, the government will NCND whether the
agencies are carrying out or have carried out an operation or investigation into
a particular person or group, have a relationship with a particular person, hold
particular information on a person or have shared information about that person
with any other agencies, whether within the UK or elsewhere.
In order to be effective, the NCND principle must be applied consistently, including
when no activity has taken place and a denial could be made perfectly properly.
If the government were prepared to deny a particular activity in one instance, the
inference might well be drawn that the absence of a denial in another amounted to
60

Goldfarb 5/128-129
Berezovsky 25/10; 25/12
62
Reilly 10/196
63
Bukovsky 26/94
61

64

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

confirmation of the alleged activity. If the government were forced to depart from
the NCND principle in one case, it would create a clear risk of serious harm to
essential UK national security interests. It could, furthermore, potentially put lives
at risk.” 64
Later in the opening statement, Mr Garnham quoted a passage from the judgment of
Lord Carswell in the Scappaticci case:65
“To state that a person is an agent would be likely to place him in immediate
danger from terrorist organisations. To deny that he is an agent may in some
cases endanger another person who may be under suspicion from terrorists. Most
significant, once the government confirms in the case of one person that he is not
an agent, a refusal to comment in the case of another person would then give rise
to an immediate suspicion that the latter was in fact an agent, so possibly placing
his life in grave danger.
… If the government were to deny in all cases that persons named were agents,
the denials would become meaningless and would carry no weight. Moreover,
if agents became uneasy about the risk to themselves being increased through
the effect of government statements, their willingness to give information and the
supply of intelligence vital to the war against terrorism could be gravely reduced.
There is in my judgment substantial force in these propositions and they form
powerful reasons for maintaining the NCND policy.” 66
Mr Garnham concluded the statement by emphasising the consequence of the NCND
approach that the Home Secretary was taking:
“All that, sir, has an immediate consequence in the circumstances of these open
hearings. The failure of the government either to confirm or deny an assertion or
a suggestion about events under consideration in this Inquiry tells you precisely
nothing about the truth or otherwise of that assertion or suggestion. It means, sir,
you must look elsewhere to determine the truth or falsity of such allegations.” 67
4.66 So much for the question of what relationship Mr Litvinenko may actually
have had with the agencies, and what his family and friends understood
to be the position at the time. As I indicated above, for the purposes of this
Inquiry it is at least as important, perhaps more important, to assess what Mr Litvinenko’s
enemies thought he was doing. Did, for example, the FSB believe that Mr Litvinenko
was or may have been working with the UK intelligence agencies?
4.67 There is some evidence before me to suggest that that is precisely what the FSB
believed. The source of that evidence is Mr Lugovoy.
4.68 In public statements and interviews that post-dated Mr Litvinenko’s death, Mr Lugovoy
stated firmly not only that Mr Litvinenko had told him that he was working with MI6, but
that Mr Litvinenko had tried to recruit him as an MI6 agent. For example, at the press
conference that Mr Lugovoy gave (with Mr Kovtun) in Moscow on 31 May 2007, he
stated that, during meetings that he had held in London during 2006, Mr Litvinenko
had been involved in an attempt, “to try and recruit me openly as an agent for British
Intelligence.” Mr Lugovoy went on to describe what it was that, as he understood it,
64

Garnham 1/172-173
(2003) NIQB 56
66
Garnham 1/174-175
67
Garnham 1/178-179
65

65

The Litvinenko Inquiry

he was being recruited to do. On Mr Lugovoy’s account, the intention was that he
would take part in an operation to gather incriminating information about President
Putin and his family – he stated that one element of this plan was that a Russian state
official would be lured to London and then blackmailed into disclosing incriminating
information about Mr Putin. Mr Lugovoy said that he had rejected the approach.
Mr Litvinenko, he said, “was enraged that I declined the offer to work for British secret
services.” 68
4.69 Mr Lugovoy returned to this theme in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais
in 2008. On that occasion, he repeated his claim that Mr Litvinenko had been involved
in an attempt to recruit him on behalf of British intelligence. He also claimed in this
interview that Mr Litvinenko had encouraged him to join him in work that he was
conducting with the Spanish secret services against the Russian mafia operating in
Spain – a subject to which I shall return below. The particular significance of this
interview for present purposes lies in what Mr Lugovoy said he did in response to
Mr Litvinenko’s attempt to recruit him for British intelligence. As to this, Mr Lugovoy
stated that: “when the British agents started to approach me, one of the first things
that I did was to inform the FSB so that they wouldn’t accuse me of being a traitor or
a spy.” 69
4.70 If these accounts are true (and I will address the subject of Mr Lugovoy’s credibility
below), the FSB received directly from Mr Lugovoy not only information that
Mr Litvinenko was working with UK intelligence agencies, but also some idea of the
type of work he was conducting.
4.71 It may not take much imagination to consider how the FSB would have reacted to
a report that one of its own former officers was working with British intelligence,
especially if, as Mr Lugovoy claimed, that former officer was involved in an operation
targeting President Putin.
4.72 It may be that comments made by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Gusak after Mr Litvinenko’s
death provide an indication of the FSB’s likely reaction to a report that Mr Litvinenko
was working with UK intelligence agencies.
4.73 Lugovoy himself, as we shall see, was never an FSB officer. But he came from a
military background and served in the KGB before it was broken up, and thereafter in
the Federal Protection Service. He gave his view of Mr Litvinenko’s conduct in acting
for British intelligence in the El Pais interview that is referred to above, which is printed
as a question and answer session:
“A. … [The British] believed that Lugovoy killed Litvinenko because Litvinenko
criticised Putin and the FSB.
Q. But the FSB believes that Litvinenko was a traitor.
A. And I think so as well. But so what? That doesn’t mean that a traitor has to be
immediately killed?
Q. Do you think that someone could have killed Litvinenko in the interests of the
Russian state?

68
69

INQ001886 (pages 2-3)
INQ017684

66

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

A. If you’re talking about the interests of the Russian state in the purest sense of
the word, I myself would have given that order. I’m not talking about Litvinenko,
but about any person who causes serious damage. For example, if I had been
president, I would have ordered the assassination of Saakashvili.
Q. Saakashvili isn’t a Russian citizen, he’s president of the Republic of Georgia.
A. Well, there is another person, Oleg Gordievsky (colonel of the KGB), a friend
of Litvinenko’s, who fled to the UK (in 1985) and was sentenced to death by the
Supreme Court of the USSR. I think that this punishment should be enacted. If
he is caught, he must be brought here and locked up for life. And if someone
has caused the Russian state serious damage, they should be exterminated.
This is my firm belief and the belief of any normal Russian.”
4.74 In February 2007, before either Mr Lugovoy’s press conference or his interview with
El Pais, Mr Gusak, Mr Litvinenko’s former friend and superior officer had given an
interview to the Ekho Moskvy radio station.70 The interview appears to have been
a follow up to an earlier interview that he had given to the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC). The interviewer asked Mr Gusak: “Tell us, please, you have
described Litvinenko as a traitor and said that he did indeed inflict serious damage
on our country, he revealed his sources of information, and even betrayed several
[undercover] agents. Is that so?” Mr Gusak responded: “The thing is, when Aleksandr
Valterovich [Litvinenko] defected abroad, he naturally handed over the undercover
agents who had been his contacts.” Later in the same interview, Mr Gusak was asked,
“But you believe that under Soviet laws Litvinenko deserved to be executed, right?”
Mr Gusak replied “Well, he did, yes.”

70

HMG000353

67

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 4:

Work for the Mitrokhin Commission
in Italy

4.75 Vasili Mitrokhin was a senior KGB archivist who defected to the UK in 1992. He
brought with him a very large collection of handwritten notes of KGB records that he
had made over many years. Much of the material contained in what became known
as the Mitrokhin Archive has subsequently been published in books jointly written by
Mr Mitrokhin and the British historian Professor Christopher Andrew.
4.76 The Mitrokhin Archive contained details of historic KGB operations throughout the
world. It included details of such operations in Italy. In 2002 the Italian Parliament
established a Commission to investigate matters arising from the Mitrokhin Archive.
It was known as the Mitrokhin Commission. Mr Litvinenko took part in its enquiries.
Could anything that Mr Litvinenko did in relation to the Mitrokhin Commission have
had a connection with his death?
4.77 Before considering the evidence available to the Inquiry that bears on that question,
it is important that I enter a number of caveats. It is apparent even from the limited
evidence that I have heard about it that the Mitrokhin Commission was and remains
highly controversial, both in Italy and beyond. It seems that there are many who have
questioned both the legitimacy of its work and the value of its findings. I must make it
clear at the outset that it is no part of my function to investigate, far less to make any
findings, in relation to those controversies. The scope of this Inquiry’s interest in the
Mitrokhin Commission is sharply limited. Put simply, it is to investigate what it was
that Alexander Litvinenko did for and in connection with the Commission, and whether
there could have been any link between those matters and his death.
4.78 I heard oral evidence from two witnesses who had a direct connection with the
Mitrokhin Commission, and with the work that Mr Litvinenko undertook for it.
4.79 First, I heard from Mario Scaramella. Mr Scaramella is an Italian lawyer who has held
a number of posts during his career. He was a consultant to the Mitrokhin Commission
and conducted certain investigations on its behalf. It was in this capacity that he was
introduced to Mr Litvinenko; and Mr Litvinenko subsequently assisted Mr Scaramella
by providing him with information. The two men became friends. Mr Scaramella also
has a second part to play in the narrative because he met Mr Litvinenko in London
on 1 November 2006, shortly before Mr Litvinenko’s meeting with Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun at the Pine Bar; I will return to his evidence about events on that day at a
later stage of the Report (see paragraphs 6.293 – 6.300 below).
4.80 The second witness was Paolo Guzzanti. At the time of the events in question,
Mr Guzzanti was a member of the Italian Senate, having previously spent many
years as a journalist, including a lengthy period as editor in chief of the newspaper
La Republica. Mr Guzzanti was the Chairman of the Mitrokhin Commission.
4.81 I am aware that both these two men have been caught up in the controversies
surrounding the Mitrokhin Commission (to which I referred above), and that in that
context questions have been raised in the public domain about their conduct and their
credibility. Although the oral and written evidence that Mr Guzzanti and (in particular)
Mr Scaramella have provided to the Inquiry has extended to cover a range of issues,
the evidence that they have given that is of central relevance to this Inquiry – i.e.
their evidence concerning their dealings with Mr Litvinenko and his dealings with the
68

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

Mitrokhin Commission – is of a much narrower compass. Both men gave evidence
to the Inquiry voluntarily – since they both live out of the jurisdiction, I could not have
compelled them to give evidence. I accept that what they have said about the core
issues to which I have referred was reliable. It is unnecessary for me to make any
findings regarding their evidence as to wider matters.
4.82

There is also in evidence an Affidavit sworn by Mr Litvinenko in 2006 that provides an
outline account of his dealings with the Mitrokhin Commission.71

Factual context
4.83

The evidence that I have heard enables me to make some outline findings regarding
the Mitrokhin Commission and Mr Litvinenko’s involvement with it. I will set out those
findings below:
a. The Mitrokhin Commission was established by the Italian Parliament in 200272
b. The Commission had 40 members – 20 from the lower house of the Italian
Parliament and 20 from the Senate. Mr Guzzanti, a senator, was elected as
Chairman of the Commission73
c. The Commission was initially tasked with investigating how the Italian secret
service had dealt with papers and information from the Mitrokhin Archive after it
had received them from the authorities in the UK. The Commission’s report on
that matter was completed in April 2004. However, the Commission then decided
to widen the scope of its enquiries to cover all possible KGB activities in Italy – it
continued investigating these broader issues until it was wound up in 200674
d. Mr Scaramella was not a member of the Commission. He was hired by the
Commission in 2003 as a consultant to conduct investigations on its behalf. The
scope of the investigations that Mr Scaramella conducted in this capacity appears
to have been very broad; Mr Guzzanti told me that they covered matters such as
the illegal financing of the Communist Party of Italy by the Soviet Union, the links
between Russian secret services and organised crime and terrorism in Italy, and
the KGB’s power to manipulate Western media75
e. Mr Scaramella was introduced to Mr Litvinenko in late 2003 by a mutual
acquaintance, Victor Rezun, also known as Victor Suvorov. Mr Scaramella asked
for Mr Litvinenko’s help in the enquiries that he was conducting for the Mitrokhin
Commission, and Mr Litvinenko agreed76
f.

Mr Litvinenko assisted Mr Scaramella by providing him with information. Their
first meeting took place in Naples in January 2004 and lasted about five days.77
Mr Scaramella told me that they had a number of subsequent meetings at
which Mr Litvinenko provided him with information. He thought that they met on
three or four occasions in Italy and also on three or four occasions in London.78

71

INQ015669
Guzzanti 29/10
73
Guzzanti 29/10; 29/14
74
Guzzanti 29/9-18; Scaramella 27/30-32
75
Guzzanti 29/18-20
76
Scaramella 15/93-94
77
INQ015669
78
Scaramella 27/57-58
72

69

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Litvinenko never met Mr Guzzanti, although they did once speak briefly on the
phone79
g. Mr Scaramella arranged for Mr Litvinenko’s expenses to be paid, but Mr Litvinenko
did not receive any further remuneration for his assistance80
h. Mr Litvinenko introduced Mr Scaramella to Mr Limarev. Mr Litvinenko told
Mr Scaramella that Mr Limarev knew more than he did about Russian organised
crime. This introduction appears to have taken place in January 2004. Thereafter
Mr Limarev became a further source of information for Mr Scaramella. The two
corresponded regularly by email81
i.

The Mitrokhin Commission was wound up in April 2006. Mr Scaramella and
Mr Litvinenko ended their regular contact at that time82

4.84 It is apparent from the evidence that I have heard and seen that Mr Litvinenko
provided Mr Scaramella with a very large volume of information. There is a transcript
of Mr Litvinenko’s first meeting with Mr Scaramella, which runs to well over 100 pages
and covers a wide range of topics.83
4.85 The information that Mr Litvinenko gave to Mr Scaramella included some on what
might be thought to have been particularly sensitive topics. I will give two examples.
4.86 First, Mr Litvinenko made various claims to Mr Scaramella about a man called Semion
Mogilevich. The written closing submissions served on behalf of Marina Litvinenko
describe Mr Mogilevich as: “one of Russia’s most notorious [Organised Crime Group]
leaders. … It is said he is responsible for contract killings and smuggling weapons.” 84
Mr Mogilevich was, at least at one stage, one of the FBI’s most wanted men.85
I have seen the text of a speech given by the US Attorney General in 2008 in which
Mr Mogilevich is said to have, “exert[ed] influence over large portions of the natural
gas industry in parts of what used to be the Soviet Union.” 86
4.87 Mr Litvinenko passed on to Mr Scaramella information about Mr Mogilevich that he
said had emerged from the transcription of the Kuchma tapes. Mr Litvinenko told
Mr Scaramella that Mr Mogilevich (whom he described as a “well known criminalterrorist” ) was. “in a good relationship with Russian President Putin and most senior
officials of the Russian Federation” ; that Mr Mogilevich and President Putin had,
“a common cause, in my understanding a criminal cause” ; that Mr Mogilevich was
an arms dealer who was selling weapons to Al-Qaeda; and that he knew: “beyond
doubt that Mogilevich is FSB’s long-standing agent and all his actions including the
contacts with Al-Qaeda are controlled by FSB … For this very reason the FSB is
hiding Mogilevich from FBI.” These allegations were contained in a written statement
that Mr Litvinenko sent by fax to the offices of the Mitrokhin Commission.87

79

Guzzanti 29/22
Scaramella 27/72-73; Guzzanti 29/23
81
Scaramella 15/94-95
82
Scaramella 15/100-101
83
INQ019473; Scaramella 27/60-73
84
Marina Litvinenko written closing submissions, page 46 paragraph 142
85
Mascall 29/84
86
BLK000241 (page 4)
87
INQ018922 (page 3); Scaramella 27/73-79
80

70

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

4.88 Second, in the course of his discussions with Mr Scaramella, Mr Litvinenko claimed
to have evidence that Romano Prodi, the senior Italian politician, was a KGB agent.
Mr Scaramella said that: “Litvinenko presented this information as the most important
information in his hands.” 88
4.89 Information of this character was clearly highly sensitive. It is possible to imagine
that, if it became known that Mr Litvinenko was making this type of allegation to a
formal body such as the Mitrokhin Commission, attempts may have been made to
silence him. Mr Scaramella gave evidence that the files containing the information
that Mr Litvinenko had given him were locked away, but that on at least one occasion
there was a security breach and unauthorised copies were made of the files.89
4.90 Another person whom Mr Litvinenko discussed with Mr Scaramella was a man
named Alexander Talik. Mr Talik was a Russian living in Naples in or about 2005.
Mr Scaramella said that he knew him, indeed that he had employed him to do some
work for his organisation, the Environmental Crime Prevention Programme (ECPP).
Precisely what took place between Mr Talik, Mr Scaramella and Mr Litvinenko is not
at all clear on the evidence. I would add that these matters have also been the subject
of proceedings in the Italian courts.
4.91 Mr Scaramella told me that he understood that Mr Talik was a former FSB officer;
he also appeared to believe that Mr Talik was connected to an incident when he
(Mr Scaramella) had been shot at in Naples by hooded men. There is evidence
that Mr Litvinenko also believed that Mr Talik had links with the FSB, and that he
told Mr Scaramella this. I also heard evidence about a consignment of arms, which
Mr Litvinenko thought may have been destined for Mr Talik, being intercepted in Italy.90

88

Scaramella 27/97-99; LUG000092
Scaramella 27/94-97
90
Scaramella 27/78-93; INQ018922
89

71

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 5: Work for the Spanish security
services
4.92 I have made reference at paragraph 4.69 above to the assertion made by Mr Lugovoy
to the effect that Mr Litvinenko told him that he was working with the Spanish secret
services against the Russian mafia operating in Spain, and moreover that Mr Litvinenko
suggested to Mr Lugovoy that he join him in this work.
4.93 This account was corroborated by evidence that I heard from Marina Litvinenko and
others during the oral hearings.
4.94 Marina Litvinenko said that she believed Mr Litvinenko’s work with the Spanish
authorities had started in 2005 or at the end of 2004. She had been aware that he was
making trips to Spain for that purpose, and also that at least one payment in respect
of this work had been made into their joint account. She knew, too, that Mr Litvinenko
was helping the Spanish authorities in combating Russian organised crime in Spain.
She also knew that Mr Lugovoy had become involved in this exercise, because
she knew that he had been due to accompany Mr Litvinenko on a trip to Spain on
10 November 2006. But Mrs Litvinenko was not aware of the detail of the work that
Mr Litvinenko was doing in Spain – she said that, “Sasha didn’t tell me a lot because
he tried to save me.” 91
4.95 It would appear from a witness statement that Mr Berezovsky gave to the Metropolitan
Police Service in December 2006 that Mr Litvinenko had shared at least some of
these details with Mr Berezovsky. The statement included the following passage:
“I know that he [i.e. Mr Litvinenko] also collected some money from cooperation
with the Spanish intelligence service. He was helping them regarding the Russian
mafia. I understand his wife also received some money.
Twice in September 2006, he told me that he had helped the Spanish intelligence
agency to arrest a top Russian mafia boss operating in Spain called Shakuro.
He also told me that he was working on some intelligence relating to Roman
Abramovich. This was likely to see him arrested in Spain for money laundering
and buying land illegally. This also involves Putin.” 92
4.96 Mr Goldfarb gave evidence that he had had two conversations with Mr Litvinenko
about the work that the latter said that he was undertaking with the Spanish security
services. First, Mr Goldfarb said that in 2005 Mr Litvinenko had suggested that
Mr Trepashkin, who had briefly been released from prison, might leave Russia and
go to live in Spain, where he would be able to arrange work for him with the Spanish
authorities.93 The second conversation that Mr Goldfarb recalled took place in 2006.
The notable feature of that conversation was that Mr Litvinenko told Mr Goldfarb that
one day he would give evidence in court about Mr Putin’s links to the mafia.94
4.97 The evidence that Mr Litvinenko may have been assisting the Spanish authorities
with operations against Russian organised crime figures in Spain, and in particular
Mr Goldfarb’s recollection that he was anticipating giving evidence in court about
91

Marina Litvinenko 3/155-157; 4/120
Berezovsky 25/13
93
Goldfarb 5/129; 26/58-59
94
Goldfarb 26/59-60
92

72

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

these matters, is also consistent with a number of documents that I admitted into
evidence. Mr Goldfarb referred to the contents of these documents when giving oral
evidence.95
4.98 A US diplomatic cable dated 31 August 2009 published on the Wikileaks website96
described two operations, codenamed Avispa and Troika, that the Spanish authorities
carried out against members of Russian organised crime groups in or about 2005 and
2006. The cable referred to allegations made in the Spanish press that Mr Litvinenko
had; “tipped off Spanish security officials on the location, roles and activities of
several ‘Russian’ mafia figures with ties to Spain.” The cable went on to assert that
Mr Litvinenko “allegedly provided information on Izguilov, Zakhar Kalashov and Tariel
Oniani to GOS [Government of Spain] officials during a May 2006 meeting.”
4.99 A further US cable published on Wikileaks appears to provide further support to the
idea that Mr Litvinenko was assisting Spanish authorities in their investigations into
Russian organised crime. This cable, dated 8 February 2010,97 refers to the Spanish
prosecutor heading the investigation, named Jose Grinda Gonzales, quoting what he
described as a “thesis” by Mr Litvinenko. The ‘thesis’ was that: “the Russian intelligence
and security services … the FSB, the SVR and the GRU – control organised crime
in Russia.” The cable further records Mr Grinda as having stated that he himself,
“believes this thesis is accurate”.
4.100 If Mr Litvinenko did provide the type of assistance to the Spanish authorities that was
described in the evidence that I have summarised above – and in particular if it is
true that he was due to give evidence about these matters in court – the question that
arises for the purposes of this Inquiry is whether there could have been any connection
between those matters and his death. Is it possible, for example, that Mr Litvinenko
was killed in order either to punish him for assisting the Spanish authorities, or to
prevent him offering any further assistance, including perhaps giving evidence in
court? I shall return to this issue below.

95

Goldfarb 26/61-67
BLK000049
97
INQ015639
96

73

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 6:

Private security work

4.101 Mr Litvinenko was not, on the evidence that I have heard, readily employable following
his arrival in the UK. His English was poor and the skills that he had developed over
20 years in the FSB and before that the KGB were highly specialised. In the early
years, it would appear that Mr Berezovsky funded the family more or less entirely. He
provided accommodation, paid for Anatoly’s school fees and made regular payments
to Mr Litvinenko, for example, for his work on the two books. Mr Berezovsky was,
however, keen that Mr Litvinenko should become more self sufficient. As we shall
hear, he encouraged Mr Litvinenko to try to obtain other work. He also cut the level of
payments that he made to the Litvinenko family.
4.102 I shall return to this point in due course because it relates to the question of whether
there was a falling out between the two men in mid 2006, and if so whether this could
be relevant in any way to Mr Litvinenko’s death.
4.103 The important point for present purposes is that in 2005 and 2006, in part no doubt
due to Mr Berezovsky’s encouragement and the reducing payments, Mr Litvinenko
appears to have started undertaking more work in what might loosely be described
as the private security field.
4.104 Some of the work that Mr Litvinenko undertook in this field involved the preparation
of so called ‘due diligence’ reports. I heard that these reports were at the time (and,
no doubt, continue to be) routinely commissioned by one company or businessman
seeking to find out more information about another company or businessman. Such
reports were often obtained at an early stage of a proposed transaction. I heard that
such reports might be sought because of a genuine wish to find out more information
about the target, but might also serve a more formal compliance purpose. Either way,
a negative report might lead to a proposed transaction being cancelled.
4.105 The evidence I heard was that in the period 2005-6, there was a strong demand in
London for ‘due diligence’ reports to be prepared on Russian targets. As we shall
see, Mr Litvinenko sought to establish himself as someone who could provide such
reports, using both his own knowledge and his contacts in their preparation.
4.106 Could it be that Mr Litvinenko’s death was connected in some way to the work that he
undertook in this sphere? Is it possible that a disgruntled subject of a negative report
prepared by Mr Litvinenko might have wished to punish him? Or might Mr Litvinenko’s
need to establish a network of sources in order to assist with this work have drawn
him into the company of people who wished him ill for other reasons?
4.107 I heard evidence that there were three private security companies with which
Mr Litvinenko became involved in this period. They were RISC Management Limited,
Titon International Limited and Erinys UK Limited. I propose to review the evidence
relating to each in turn.

RISC
4.108 RISC Management Limited (RISC) was a private security company that had grown
out of an earlier business named ISC Global. I heard evidence from Keith Hunter, who
was CEO of RISC in the period 2005–6.98 He explained that ISC had been set up in
98

Hunter 11/1-47

74

Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

2000 by Stephen Curtis and Nigel Brown. Mr Curtis was a lawyer with a large network
of high net worth clients, whom he introduced to ISC. Mr Curtis’ clients included the
so called oligarchs Mr Berezovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky.
Mr Curtis was killed in a helicopter crash in 2004. As I understood the evidence, the
business of ISC was thereafter split between Mr Brown, who went to work in Israel,
and Mr Hunter, who set up RISC in London.99
4.109 Mr Hunter’s evidence was that he first met Mr Litvinenko in 2001 or 2002, when
introduced to him by Mr Berezovsky. He recalled that Mr Berezovsky thought that
Mr Litvinenko might be useful to his business. He remembered meeting Mr Litvinenko
on subsequent occasions, such as at other meetings with Mr Berezovsky. He appears
to have formed a fairly low opinion of Mr Litvinenko’s value as a possible source of
intelligence – his view was that Mr Litvinenko’s sources were likely to be historic and
also that the views he offered might contain a political slant.100
4.110 There was evidence from others that Mr Litvinenko did undertake some work for RISC
in 2005 and 2006. Mr Hunter said that he had not been directly involved in such work,
and that it would have been handled by Mr Knuckey, RISC’s managing director, and
by Garym Evans and Daniel Quirke, the investigators who were, successively, the
people at RISC with whom Mr Litvinenko dealt on a day to day basis.
4.111 Written evidence of Mr Knuckey was read to the Inquiry. He recalled first meeting
Mr Litvinenko in the summer of 2004, when he conducted an investigation into the
firebombing attack against the houses of Mr Litvinenko and Mr Zakayev (see above at
paragraph 4.26). He added, “I believe he was known by the CEO Keith Hunter before
then.” 101
4.112 Later in the same statement, Mr Knuckey stated that, “during 2005 our company
decided to use [Mr Litvinenko] as a source”. 102 He said that he asked a member of
his staff, Mr Evans, to manage Mr Litvinenko, and that when Mr Evans left RISC in
February 2006, he “passed the management of Litvinenko to Dan Quirke”, 103 another
member of staff at RISC.
4.113 Mr Evans gave oral evidence to the Inquiry, and his evidence was broadly consistent
with that of Mr Knuckey. He recalled being introduced to Mr Litvinenko by either
Mr Hunter or Mr Knuckey, or both, in about the middle of 2005.104 Although he was told
that he would be working with Mr Litvinenko, and the two met at the RISC offices in
London about seven or eight times over the next few months, it does not appear that
Mr Litvinenko was actually engaged to conduct any enquiries for RISC during the time
that Mr Evans was managing him. Mr Evans said that when the two met they spent
time discussing Russian politics. Mr Evans thought that Mr Litvinenko was keeping
himself occupied, and also trying to build a relationship with RISC.105 There must have
been some substance to the relationship between RISC and Mr Litvinenko, because
Mr Evans remembered giving Mr Litvinenko two mobile phones and SIM cards at the
latter’s request – Mr Evans assumed they were to help him keep in touch with his
“network of contacts.” 106 Mr Knuckey’s evidence was that RISC had gone further and
99

Hunter 11/4-9
Hunter 11/25-29
101
Knuckey 7/36
102
Knuckey 7/45
103
Knuckey 7/45-46
104
Evans 7/20
105
Evans 7/33
106
Evans 7/26
100

75

The Litvinenko Inquiry

paid Mr Litvinenko £1,000 in cash to mark the start of their relationship. He said that
Mr Evans would have made the payment, but, whilst Mr Evans did have a “vague
recollection” of paying Mr Litvinenko a much smaller amount for expenses, he had
no memory of this.107 The other notable feature of Mr Evans’ evidence was that he
remembered meeting Mr Lugovoy, with Mr Litvinenko, at the RISC offices in London
at some stage in the last quarter of 2005.108
4.114 Mr Quirke also gave oral evidence to the Inquiry. He said that he was introduced to
Mr Litvinenko in February or March 2006, shortly before Mr Evans left the company,
and took over as Mr Litvinenko’s handler from that time.109 His understanding was that
Mr Litvinenko was:
“… trying to establish a business, he was working hard, I think he was short
of money. I think monies that he’d previously got from – as like a retainer from
Mr Berezovsky had ceased and that left a hole in his finances.” 110
4.115 Mr Quirke said that he met Mr Litvinenko five or six times after the handover meeting.
The last of those meetings was on 17 October 2006, a meeting to which I shall return
in due course.
4.116 The evidence I heard was that Mr Litvinenko was formally tasked with his first piece
of investigative work for RISC at around the time of the handover from Mr Evans to
Mr Quirke. Mr Knuckey asserted in his statement that he gave Mr Litvinenko this piece
of work at some point in the first quarter of 2006.111 Mr Quirke’s evidence was broadly
consistent – he thought that the tasking had commenced shortly before he took over
from Mr Evans.112 The case on which Mr Litvinenko was tasked was a long-running
case in which RISC acted for Stolichnaya vodka. Mr Quirke explained that RISC
were undertaking investigations on behalf of Stolichnaya into what he described as a
scheme sponsored by the Russian government to put the company out of business
by, as he put it, “flood[ing] the market with knockoff versions of the brand.” The task
that Mr Litvinenko was given, apparently by Mr Knuckey, was to make enquiries into
the Russian agriculture minister, named Mr Gordeyev.113
4.117 Mr Litvinenko did not conduct this investigation alone. Rather, he enlisted the
assistance of Mr Lugovoy. The evidence of both Mr Knuckey and Mr Quirke was that
Mr Litvinenko and Mr Lugovoy attended a meeting at RISC’s offices in London in about
April or May 2006 when they presented the fruits of their investigation. Mr Knuckey
and Mr Quirke were not impressed. Mr Quirke explained that the information, “was
not up to the standard we expected … [it] appeared to have been culled from Russian
internet sites.” Mr Lugovoy demanded US$10,000 for the information – Mr Quirke
said that Mr Knuckey agreed to make a payment of US$7,500 to an account operated
by Mr Lugovoy in Cyprus, in part because, “We wanted to cultivate and build this
relationship.” 114

107

Knuckey 7/45-46; Evans 7/26-27
Evans 7/31
109
Quirke 11/60
110
Quirke 11/68
111
Knuckey 7/49
112
Quirke 11/73
113
Quirke 11/70-74
114
Quirke 11/82; Knuckey 7/46-49; Hunter 11/45-46
108

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Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

4.118 As we shall see, this would not be the last occasion on which Mr Lugovoy would
provide Mr Litvinenko with substandard material when purportedly assisting him in
making enquiries into Russian targets.
4.119 Mr Quirke’s evidence was that he had one further formal meeting with Mr Litvinenko
and Mr Lugovoy. That meeting took place on 17 October 2006.115 Also present on that
occasion was Mr Kovtun. I shall return to that meeting in due course.

Erinys/Titon
4.120 The other two London private security companies with which Mr Litvinenko became
involved in the last year of his life were linked to each other. The two companies
shared a director and also a suite of offices in Mayfair – offices that were to play an
important part in the events that led to Mr Litvinenko’s death.
4.121 Mr John Holmes, who gave oral evidence to the Inquiry, was a director of a large
multinational security company named Erinys International. He operated its UK
subsidiary, Erinys UK. He was assisted in doing so by Mr Tim Reilly, who was employed
by Erinys UK as a consultant. The major business of both Erinys companies was the
provision of physical security services to the oil industry.116
4.122 Mr Holmes was also a co-director of an investigative due diligence business called
Titon International Limited. The other director, who managed the day to day work of
the company, was called Mr Dean Attew.
4.123 Both companies were based in offices at 25 Grosvenor Street, Mayfair.
4.124 Mr Attew’s evidence was that he first met Mr Litvinenko in 2004; thereafter the two men
became close personal friends and, latterly, business associates.117 Mr Attew stated
that he saw Mr Litvinenko from time to time after they first met, and they became
friends, but that they did not start to work together until about six months before
Mr Litvinenko died – that is, about May 2006. It is clear that during those six months
the two men became even closer – Mr Attew said that Mr Litvinenko would often pop
into the Mayfair offices for a short chat – something that he sometimes did several
times a week.118
4.125 Mr Attew described how another investigator for whom he sometimes worked needed
some enquiries conducted on Russian targets, and that he asked Mr Litvinenko to
undertake the work. He said that he probably requested the first of these reports from
Mr Litvinenko in August 2006. Mr Attew’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko produced
a total of four due diligence reports.119 It was apparent from the evidence of Mr Attew
and others that, as with the work that he did for Mr Quirke relating to Mr Gordeyev,
Mr Litvinenko obtained assistance from others in preparing these reports. For the first
draft of one of the reports, Mr Litvinenko sought assistance from Mr Lugovoy. For the
second draft of that report, and for all the others, Mr Litvinenko was assisted by Yuri
Shvets.120
115

Quirke 11/86-87
Holmes 7/50-53
117
Attew 13/15-17
118
Attew 13/17-22
119
Attew 13/25-26; 13/28-32. (There was a small degree of inconsistency between the evidence of Mr Attew
and that of Mr Shvets as to the subjects of the reports, but I did not consider this inconsistency to be material.)
120
Attew 13/28-30
116

77

The Litvinenko Inquiry

4.126 Mr Shvets was a former member of the Committee for State Security (KGB) who
emigrated to the United States (US) in 1993. From there, he wrote and published a
book that was highly critical of what he described as the Russian “system”, which, he
told me, he regarded as “more dangerous to the country than any external enemy”.
He received threats following the publication of the book and he subsequently claimed
and was granted asylum in the US.121 As I have described at paragraph 4.51 above,
Mr Litvinenko and Mr Shvets had met and become friends in 2002 when they were
both involved in the project relating to the so called ‘Kuchma tapes’.
4.127 Mr Shvets told me that he had a telephone conversation with Mr Litvinenko in about
July 2006. Mr Shvets was already producing due diligence reports and he suggested
to Mr Litvinenko that he should try and find customers for the reports in London. He
said that he would pay Mr Litvinenko 20% of the fee for each report.122
4.128 One of the reports that Mr Attew commissioned Mr Litvinenko to provide is of particular
interest to this Inquiry. That was the report of which Mr Lugovoy prepared the first draft
and Mr Shvets the second. The target of that report was a senior Russian politician
named Victor Ivanov. Mr Attew explained that Mr Litvinenko had introduced him to
Mr Lugovoy prior to the report being commissioned, and he had disliked him.
4.129 The view of Mr Attew and others was that the reports prepared by Mr Shvets were of
very high quality. Mr Litvinenko appears to have been paid thousands of pounds for
each report,123 although the evidence was that the larger part of that money was sent
by Mr Litvinenko to Mr Shvets.
4.130 Mr Reilly, who was employed by Mr Holmes as a consultant to Erinys UK, was a
specialist in oil and gas and a Russian speaker. His evidence was that Mr Attew
introduced him to Mr Litvinenko at some point during the early summer of 2006 in
the offices that the two companies shared. They spoke together in Russian and
subsequently Mr Litvinenko would often drop by his office so that they could talk in
Russian. Mr Reilly thought that he was one of the few people whom Mr Litvinenko
knew who could speak Russian but was not a member of the Russian community in
London. He estimated that he saw Mr Litvinenko between 20 and 30 times in 2006,
between the early summer and November when Mr Litvinenko was taken ill.124
4.131 Mr Reilly’s role at Erinys UK at the time was to attempt to secure contracts for the
Erinys companies in the Russian oil and gas fields, and in particular was attempting to
cultivate contacts that he had made in the security department at Gazprom. According
to Mr Reilly, Mr Litvinenko told him that he had a Russian friend who might be able to
help, and that he should meet him. He put it in this way:
“[Mr Litvinenko] mentioned he had a friend from his time in Russia who was also
ex-KGB who had contacts in the security world and indeed had a security company
himself amongst other businesses that he had, and that it would be useful perhaps
to meet this guy who may be able to introduce me to Russian oil and gas industry
in terms of its security departments.” 125

121

Shvets 24/44-47
Shvets 24/58-59
123
Holmes 7/63-64
124
Reilly 10/11-13
125
Reilly 10/61-62
122

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Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

4.132 Mr Lugovoy duly came to the Mayfair offices with Mr Litvinenko to meet Mr Reilly.
Mr Reilly said that the first of these meetings took place in June or July 2006.126 The
next meeting, at which Mr Lugovoy was accompanied by Mr Kovtun, took place on
16 October 2006; that is a meeting to which I shall return.
4.133 Mr Reilly’s evidence was that, although the question of money was never discussed
between him and Mr Litvinenko and Mr Lugovoy, it was understood that they would
be paid if, and only if, Erinys won a contract.127

Might this work have been linked to Mr Litvinenko’s death?
4.134 As I suggested at the beginning of this Part, Mr Litvinenko’s apparent keenness
to develop his work with private security companies in the period 2005-6 may well
be explained by a desire, and/or a need, to establish sources of income that were
independent of Mr Berezovsky. I heard evidence that Mr Litvinenko was exploring
other similar ventures – for example, he asked for Mr Reilly’s advice about a project
to import ethanol from the Ukraine,128 and also discussed a possible deal involving
copper trading with Mr Attew.129
4.135 Mr Litvinenko’s life, then, was starting to move in a new direction. He was meeting
and doing business with people outside the close circle around Mr Berezovsky. He
was investigating people, often influential people, in Russia, and seeking to sell the
fruits of those investigations to their business partners and rivals.
4.136 The question that I must address is whether, in taking these steps, Mr Litvinenko
was placing himself at risk. In particular, I must consider whether the new work that
Mr Litvinenko was undertaking was in any way connected with his death.
4.137 The first point to make is that I heard clear evidence that those who commissioned due
diligence type work from Mr Litvinenko took careful steps to preserve his anonymity
as the source of information that they then relayed to their clients. Mr Quirke stated
that the names of sources were kept confidential even within the office, and that
Mr Litvinenko’s name would not have been written on any report or mentioned orally
to any of their clients.130 Mr Evans131 and Mr Hunter132 gave evidence to similar effect,
and the same basic principle was implicit in Mr Attew’s evidence.
4.138 It follows that, at least as regards most of the reports that Mr Litvinenko was involved
in preparing, there is no particular reason to think that his role in providing what may
have been damaging information ever became known to anyone affected by it. One
exception to this is the Ivanov report that I have referred to above. There is reason
to think that this report might have found its way back to Mr Ivanov and others in the
Kremlin, together with the fact that Mr Litvinenko had been responsible for preparing
it. I will return to this particular report in the next Part (see below, Part 5, chapter 4).

126

Reilly 10/67-68
Reilly 10/78-79
128
Reilly 10/50-58
129
Attew 13/64
130
Quirke 11/54-59
131
Evans 7/18-19
132
Hunter 11/46
127

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4.139 Moving on, the question that I posed at paragraph 4.106 above was whether
Mr Litvinenko’s need to establish a network of sources to assist him in this investigative
work may have led him to associate with people who wished him harm.
4.140 The summary of the evidence relating to Mr Litvinenko’s private security work
that I have set out above contains references to Mr Litvinenko seeking to involve
Mr Lugovoy in a number of different projects. Mr Litvinenko and Mr Lugovoy were
old acquaintances; but the evidence is clear that it was this work that led to them
becoming closer in the period 2005.

Andrey Lugovoy
4.141 Mr Lugovoy is a central figure in the issues to which this Inquiry give rise. Although
he did not give oral evidence, I heard a good deal of oral evidence about him. I also
admitted into evidence a number of the accounts that he has given about the events
in question. It will be convenient to say a little by way of introduction about him at this
point.
4.142 I heard that Mr Lugovoy was born in Baku in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) in 1966, which made him four years younger than Mr Litvinenko.133 Not unlike
Mr Litvinenko, Mr Lugovoy was born into a family that was proud of its military history
and its record of service to Russia. At a press conference in May 2007, Mr Lugovoy
said this about his family:
“I was born into a family of a military person. My grandad fought in the RussoJapanese war of 1904. He was awarded a St George’s Cross, one of the highest
military honours of the Russian empire. My other grandad took part in the storming
of Berlin. My father served in the army for 39 years. My brother is a steersman
on an atomic submarine and I am a professional military man by training. I was
brought up in the tradition of a real Russian officer. I am proud that for the last
few years in my opinion Russia started to gain its place in the world as a stage
of geopolitical importance, which has always influenced politics and I hope will
influence politics. It was so before the October revolution, and after it. There was
a small period of time when nobody took Russia into account for ten years. Now,
gentlemen, you will have to take Russia into account.” 134
4.143 In the passage that I have quoted Mr Lugovoy said that he was a military man by
training, and I heard some further evidence on that subject. I heard that he attended
military college, and then joined the Ninth Directorate of the KGB, which was
responsible for providing protection for senior state officials. Like Mr Litvinenko, on
the break-up of the KGB Mr Lugovoy continued to undertake the same work, albeit
for a differently named organisation. In Mr Lugovoy’s case, he was a member of the
Federal Protection Service (FPS), which was the successor organisation to the Ninth
Directorate.135 It appears that Mr Lugovoy was never a member of the FSB.136
4.144 I heard that in 1996 Mr Lugovoy resigned from the FPS to become Head of Security
at ORT, the television station that was run at that time by Mr Berezovsky and his
business partner Mr Patarkatsishvili. Mr Lugovoy remained in that job until 2001,
when he was required to leave the company. It will be recalled that that was at about
133

Mascall 8/14-16
INQ001886 (page 21)
135
Mascall 8/17-19
136
Mascall 8/25
134

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Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

the time when Mr Berezovsky left Russia and gave up control of ORT, having fallen
out with President Putin. I heard that Mr Lugovoy’s explanation for his departure from
ORT at this time was that he was required to leave the company because he was
perceived to be one of Mr Berezovsky’s associates.137
4.145 Unlike Mr Berezovsky, Mr Lugovoy did not leave Russia. Rather, he developed various
successful business interests, including a security company named Ninth Wave.138
4.146 I also heard evidence about an event in Mr Lugovoy’s life that took place shortly
after his departure from ORT, and which is of considerable potential significance to
the issues that arise in this Inquiry. The evidence I heard was that Mr Lugovoy was
arrested and convicted in 2001 of attempting to assist another of Mr Berezovsky’s
associates, named Mr Glushkov, to escape from prison. The evidence was that he
was released in 2002, after 15 months’ imprisonment.139
4.147 As we shall see, questions have been asked about this chapter of Mr Lugovoy’s story.
The underlying theme of these questions has been the possibility that Mr Lugovoy was,
or became, an FSB agent tasked to act against Mr Berezovsky and his associates. It
has been suggested that Mr Lugovoy’s conviction and imprisonment were fabricated
in order to add to his credibility with Mr Berezovsky. Mr Glushkov, for example, stated
that Mr Lugovoy had never been seen in the Lefortovo prison during the time that
he was supposedly detained there.140 Another suggestion has been that Mr Lugovoy
may have been recruited by the FSB whilst in prison. One focus of speculation in
this regard has been Mr Lugovoy’s successful business career following his release
from prison, in particular in the security business, which was closely monitored by
the FSB. I heard evidence that Andrei Vasiliev, the editor of the Russian newspaper
Kommersant, had put the matter in this way:
“There is a saying ‘there is no such thing as a former KGB man’… I find Lugovoy’s
story a little strange. He was in prison, had a criminal record and suddenly he
is okay, is allowed to do business, still having contact with Berezovsky. It raises
questions.” 141
4.148 As I have described, both Mr Litvinenko and Mr Lugovoy were associates of
Mr Berezovsky in Moscow during the late 1990s, and both gave an account of having
met occasionally at that time.142 They also gave consistent accounts of not having
had any contact with each other for some years following Mr Litvinenko’s departure
from Moscow, and of then meeting again in London in 2004 or 2005. However, their
accounts differ in what may be significant respects as to the timing and circumstances
of their first meeting in London.
4.149 As to the timing of their first meeting in London, Mr Litvinenko said twice during the
course of his interviews with DI Hyatt that the meeting had taken place in 2004. He
also said that Mr Lugovoy had been in London at the time to watch either CSKA
Moscow or Spartak play Chelsea.143 Mr Lugovoy’s account (in the witness statement
that he gave in the Terluk litigation) was that the meeting had taken place in October
137

Mascall 8/26-30
Mascall 8/31-32
139
A number of different dates were given for Mr Lugovoy’s imprisonment. The 2001-2 dates seem most likely,
since they coincide with the evidence given by Mr Glushkov: Mascall 8/44-48
140
Glushkov 17/46-48
141
Mascall 8/47-48
142
Mascall 8/49; INQ016593 (page 10)
143
INQ002470 (pages 2-3); INQ016593 (pages 10-11)
138

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

2005, but he also said that the meeting had coincided with his trip to London to watch
CSKA Moscow play Chelsea.144 There is evidence before the Inquiry that CSKA
Moscow played Chelsea in London on 20 October 2004; there were no matches
between the two teams in 2005 – nor were there any matches between Chelsea and
Spartak in either year.145 It therefore appears very likely that Mr Litvinenko’s account
was accurate and that the two men first met in London in October 2004.
4.150 There is also a divergence between the accounts of the two men as to how the
meeting was arranged. Mr Litvinenko told DI Hyatt that Mr Lugovoy contacted him
and suggested that they meet. Mr Lugovoy, on the other hand, stated in the witness
statement to which I have referred above that Mr Litvinenko had contacted him and
asked to meet. Since this was the occasion on which the relationship between the two
men was renewed, the question of who initiated the process is of some importance. I
will return to this question in Part 9 below.
4.151 Following that meeting Mr Litvinenko drew Mr Lugovoy into his business activities,
often describing him as his ‘Moscow contact’. On the evidence that I have heard,
the first occasion on which Mr Litvinenko took Mr Lugovoy to a business meeting
in London was the meeting with Mr Evans in late 2005. That was followed by the
meeting with Mr Quirke and Mr Knuckey in April/May 2006, then the meetings with
Mr Attew and Mr Reilly, and the further meeting with Mr Quirke, later in the year. Marina
Litvinenko gave evidence that she recalled meeting Mr Lugovoy at Mr Berezovsky’s
60th birthday party, held at Blenheim Palace in January 2006. She also recalled that
Mr Lugovoy and his wife had visited Mr Litvinenko at their home in north London
during July 2006, whilst she and Anatoly were away on holiday.146
4.152 As I have explained above, neither Mr Knuckey and Mr Quirke, nor Mr Attew, were
at all impressed by the due diligence reports compiled by Mr Lugovoy. Mr Attew also
stated that he took a strong personal dislike to Mr Lugovoy when he met him with
Mr Litvinenko at Heathrow Airport in June 2006. Mr Attew’s evidence was that, on
meeting Mr Lugovoy, he disliked and distrusted him. He added:
“I have met many different people from many different countries, and you on
occasions meet people that worry you, concern you, scare you, and in this instance,
there was something I would describe as cold, scarily cold about Lugovoy. It wasn’t
that I felt frightened; it wasn’t that I felt in harm’s way in any way. I just didn’t like
the characteristics of the individual or the profile that was sitting in front of me.” 147
Mr Attew also stated that he returned to the Erinys/Titon offices after meeting
Mr Lugovoy and recounted his experience to Mr Holmes and Mr Reilly. He also
advised his colleagues that they should not allow Mr Lugovoy into the offices and,
more importantly, that they should not do any business with him.148 As I have explained,
Mr Reilly ignored both pieces of advice.
4.153 But it is striking that Mr Litvinenko appears to have had a very different opinion
of Mr Lugovoy to that of Mr Attew. Mr Attew told me that Mr Litvinenko described
Mr Lugovoy to him as “a good friend.” 149 Mr Quirke’s evidence was that Mr Litvinenko
described Mr Lugovoy to him as “someone… that he trusted and who was in Russia
144

INQ001788 (page 15 paragraph 86)
INQ022396; INQ022397
146
Marina Litvinenko 4/14-17
147
Attew 13/85-86
148
Attew 13/47
149
Attew 13/45
145

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Part 4 | Chapters 1 to 6 | Why would anyone wish to kill Alexander Litvinenko?

and could help us”,150 and Mr Reilly’s impression of Mr Litvinenko and Mr Lugovoy’s
relationship was that they were, “fairly frank and open with each other, very comfortable
in each other’s presence”. 151
4.154 Mr Shvets also told me that Mr Litvinenko trusted Mr Lugovoy. He recalled that he
and Mr Litvinenko discussed whether Mr Lugovoy could be trusted after Mr Litvinenko
told him that he had given a copy of the Ivanov report that Mr Shvets had drafted to
Mr Lugovoy. The conversation, as Mr Shvets recounted it, is a telling one:
“Then it was dangerous, because I didn’t know who that guy was, this Russian guy
was, and basically it was dangerous for – it could be dangerous for my network.
And this is why I said: Sasha, do you understand what you are doing, because it
may be dangerous for us both. And this is when I started asking questions, do you
really know this guy, and he told me what he could tell me about him. Basically
he told me that he had known him for more years than he knew me. He said that
don’t worry, I trust this guy entirely, because – and basically he told me his four
criteria. First, this Russian guy, Sasha said, he had worked with the KGB, as we
did, all right, so we are from the same league. Then he said that, like I, that’s
Sasha, and this guy, we worked with the Russian security agencies. Okay. Third
criteria, he said that this guy, like Sasha, worked for Boris Berezovsky. And the
fourth criteria was that this guy, he had served time in jail for his association with
Boris Berezovsky, like Sasha did. So for Sasha, these two last criteria, they were
essential for him to trust this guy entirely. Sasha said, like, you know, this guy, he
is like me, he has served time in jail for Boris Berezovsky, I trust him entirely. I said:
okay, it’s your choice, you did it, but let’s see what happens next.” 152
4.155 Whether Mr Litvinenko was right to trust Mr Lugovoy, and whether Mr Lugovoy was
connected to what did “happen next” to Mr Litvinenko, are issues that lie at the heart
of this Inquiry.

150

Quirke 11/80
Reilly 10/65
152
Shvets 24/74-75
151

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

84

Part: 5 Alexander Litvinenko’s final months
Chapter 1:
5.1

Introduction

The summer and early autumn of 2006 saw a number of developments in the themes
that I have set out above, developments that I will consider before turning in the next
Part to the events that immediately preceded Mr Litvinenko’s death.

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 2:

The 2006 Russian laws

5.2

Two laws passed through the Russian legislative process in the first part of 2006, to
which I shall refer as ‘the 2006 laws’. At the time, some perceived the 2006 laws as
a means by which President Putin might take action against the dissident community
outside Russia, including in the UK. It is necessary to consider whether such fears
may have been justified, and whether their enactment is a factor of any significance
in the death of Mr Litvinenko.

5.3

I heard oral evidence on these matters from a number of witnesses. Following the
conclusion of the hearings, I instructed Drew Holiner, an expert in Russian law, to
prepare a report on the meaning and effect of the 2006 laws. He produced a report
dated 4 August 2015, which I have adduced into evidence.1

The 2006 laws
5.4

The first of the 2006 laws was Federal Law no.35-FZ of 2006 – On Counteraction
of Terrorism (hereafter ‘the Terrorism Law’).2 It was adopted by the State Duma on
26 February 2006, endorsed by the Federation Council on 1 March 2006 and signed
into law by President Putin on 6 March 2006. The Terrorism Law runs to some 17
pages and reads as a code providing for anti-terrorism measures to be taken by
Russian forces. One of the striking features of the Terrorism Law is that it makes
provision for Russian forces to take action against terrorism beyond the borders of
the Russian Federation.

5.5

The Terrorism Law contemplates anti-terrorism action being taken both by Russia’s
armed forces, and also by the “federal security service” – i.e. the FSB. I shall return
below to address questions as to the roles that each was intended to play under the
legislation, and the limits on their statutory functions.

5.6

The second of the 2006 laws was not, like the first, a piece of freestanding legislation
but was an amendment to the Federal Law of 25 July 2002 On Counteracting Extremist
Activity. The bill containing the amendment was approved by the State Duma on
8 July 2006 and by the Federation Council on 14 July 2006. It received Presidential
approval on 27 July 2006. I shall refer to this amendment as ‘the Extremism Law’.

5.7

The Extremism Law contained an expansive list of activity that was to constitute
extremism for the purposes of the statute. The list is set out in full in Appendix C
to Mr Holiner’s report3 (an abbreviated version of the list is included in Professor
Service’s first report). The list includes:
“(a) the activity of public and religious associations or other organisations, or the
editorial board of a medium of mass communication, or physical persons as to the
planning, organising, preparation and implementation of acts directed at:
Violent change to the constitutional order and territorial integrity of the Russian
Federation;
Undermining of the security of the Russian Federation;

1

INQ022399
A translated copy of the law provided to the Solicitor to the Inquiry by the Russian Embassy in London is at
INQ018962
3
INQ022399 (pages 23-24)
2

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Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

Seizure or arrogation of [governmental] authority;
Creation of illegal armed formations;
Conduct of terrorist activity or the public justification of terrorism;
Excitation of racist, national or religious strife (roznya) as well as social strife
accompanied by force or calls for the use of force;
Insulting (unizhenie) national dignity;
Realisation of mass disorders, hooligan actions and acts of vandalism with
motives of ideological, political, racial, national or religious hostility or hatred,
as well as that motivated by hatred or enmity toward some social group;
Propaganda of the exceptionalism, superiority or inferiority of citizens on the
basis of their attitude towards religion, social, racial, national, religious or
linguistic affiliation;
Obstruction of the legal activity of organs of state power and election
commissions, as well as the lawful activities of the officials of such organs and
commissions;
Public slander of anyone filling a state post of the Russian Federation or a state
office of a constituent region of the Russian Federation during the exercise
of his official duties or in connection with their exercise, accompanied by an
accusation that the person has committed acts identified in this article, on the
condition that such slander has been established in court proceedings;

Production and (or) dissemination of printed, audio, audio-visual and other
materials for public use that contain even one of the above-mentioned features;
(b) …
(c) Public appeals to engage in such activity, as well as public calls and addresses
encouraging engagement in such activity and supporting or justifyng the commission
of acts identified in this article;
(d) Financing such activities or any co-operation in planning, organisation,
preparation and implementation of such actions, including by means of providing
funds, immovable property, educational, printing material and technical support,
telephone, fax or other means of communication, informational services or other
material and technical means.”
5.8

Professor Service commented on this provision in trenchant terms. He said:
“The amendment is a mere listing of categories rather than a careful legislative
definition. The language is extravagantly vague, and more than one category allows
for unfettered repressive activity by the authorities. The item on the slandering of
holders of public office is remarkable for the room it gives to treat any strident
critique of the President or other leading officials as extremism. The wording is
so expansive as to enable the authorities, if such were to be their desire, to act
87

The Litvinenko Inquiry

against every kind of unfair criticism – or indeed any criticism that they deem to be
unfair.” 4

The perceived threat
5.9

There is no doubt that Mr Litvinenko and the circle around him perceived the 2006
laws as representing a threat to their safety. On 11 July 2006 (three days after the
second law had been passed by the Duma), The Times published a letter written
by Vladimir Bukovsky and Oleg Gordievsky. It was short and to the point. It read as
follows:
“Sir, As the seven leaders of the world’s most industrially developed democracies
are packing their suitcases in order to go to St Petersburg for the G8 meeting,
their would-be host, Former KGB Lieutenant–Colonel Vladimir Putin, has rushed
through the state Duma two new pieces of legislation.
First, a new law enabling him to use his secret services as ‘death squads’ to
eliminate ‘extremists’ anywhere abroad (including in this country).
Second, an amendment to existing law on fighting ‘extremism’, providing a much
broader definition of that ‘crime’ which, among other things, will include now any
‘libellous’ statements about his Administration.
Thus, the stage is set for any critic of Putin’s regime here, especially those
campaigning against Russian genocide in Chechnya, to have an appointment
with a poison-tipped umbrella. According to the statement by the Russian Defence
Minister Sergei Ivanov, the black list of potential targets is already compiled.
In keeping with the best traditions of the Soviet-era foreign policy, which always
strived to make the world an unwitting accomplice of their crimes, this masterpiece
is delivered precisely to coincide with the G8 meeting, which will serve to provide
a semblance of approval, or at least of acceptance, by the world of this new
development in the ‘common fight with terrorism’.
Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous development. Unless the Western
leaders are prepared to share responsibility for murders, like the one committed
in Qatar by Russian agents, they must cancel their meeting, or, at the very least,
should protest loudly against such abuse of the G8 chairmanship.” 5

5.10 In an interview conducted by the Metropolitan Police Service in March 2007, Boris
Berezovsky explained the extent of the concerns that Mr Litvinenko himself had had
regarding the new legislation. He said:
“And of course he was always worried of the security especially after, in July 2006,
Putin signed a law which allowed Russian special services without any investigation
or court hearing, to kill people who Russian authorities considered to be enemies of
then Russian state. Sasha mentioned loads of times that this legislation of course
was designed in the first place to get rid of us – him, Zakayev and myself. Moreover,
he said that most probably they would try to poison us. Today this sounds amazing
but unfortunately this proved to be true, true prediction.” 6
4

INQ019146 (page 22 paragraph 67)
INQ019194
6
Berezovsky 25/26 lines 9-20
5

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Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

5.11 Marina Litvinenko’s evidence was to a similar effect – she said that Mr Litvinenko
“viewed these laws as a personal threat”. 7

Did the 2006 laws represent a real threat?
5.12 This is an issue that is best addressed in two stages.
5.13 First, it is necessary to consider whether the terms of the legislative provisions
themselves bear out the type of concerns expressed above. That is an exercise that
requires me to determine the meaning and effect of the 2006 laws. Although Professor
Service addressed the point, it is not strictly within his expertise. Mr Holiner, on the
other hand, is an expert on Russian law and I will refer principally to his evidence in
addressing this first question.
5.14 The second stage is to assess whether the laws could have operated at a more
general level in increasing the threat to Mr Litvinenko and those around him. That is
an area within Professor Service’s expertise, and I found his evidence of assistance
in this regard.

The strict meaning of the 2006 laws
5.15 The question here is whether the text of the 2006 laws themselves bears out the
concerns held and expressed by Mr Bukovsky, Mr Gordievsky and Mr Litvinenko, and
which would appear to have been shared by others.
5.16 As I have said, both Professor Service and Mr Holiner addressed these matters. I also
received helpful representations on this point made in March 2013 to the Solicitor to
the Inquiry (then the Solicitor to the Inquest) by Mr Batmanov, the then Head of the
Consular Department of the Russian Embassy in London.8
5.17 I agree with the observation made by Professor Service in his report that there is
“some confusion” as to the meaning and content of the two pieces of legislation, “even
in some of the well-informed secondary literature”.9
5.18 I would make the following points regarding the content and strict meaning of the two
laws:
a. It appears to me that the effect of the Extremism Law was to create a very wide
definition of the term ‘extremism’. Moreover, the new definition included conduct
of which Mr Litvinenko and those around him could be accused – most obviously,
“Public slander of anyone filling a state post of the Russian Federation.” I note the
statutory requirement under that limb of the statutory definition that “such slander
has been established in court proceedings”
b. It follows that steps might well have been taken against Mr Litvinenko under
the On Countering Extremist Activity law as amended, had he been in Russia in
2006. However, he was of course outside the jurisdiction by that time, and the
anti-extremist law contained no provisions for extra-territorial enforcement
c. The Terrorism Law, by contrast, did contain such provisions
7

INQ017734 (page 23 paragraph 80)
INQ018943
9
INQ019146 (page 22 paragraph 68)
8

89

The Litvinenko Inquiry

d.

Mr Holiner confirmed the distinction at paragraph 25 of his report:10
“In sum, the Counterterrorism Law permits the Federal Security Service, upon
obtaining authority from the President of the Russian Federation, to engage in
counterterrorist activities abroad aimed at eliminating terrorist threats, including
through the use of lethal force…The Counter-Extremism Law confers no similar
authority to act in respect of persons defined as extremists.”

e. Professor Service made a similar point at paragraph 68 of his report – the 2006 antiextremism amendment, he said, “contained no permission for the assassination
of ‘extremists’ who were not terrorists” 11
f.

The only legal route to extra-territorial action against Mr Litvinenko was therefore
under the Terrorism Law. However, action could only have been taken against
Mr Litvinenko under this law had he been involved in, or no doubt suspected
of involvement in, some form of terrorist activity. Article 3 of the Terrorism Law
contains definitions of terrorism and terrorist acts that are broadly conventional,
and certainly not as expansive as the definition of ‘extremism’ in the second of
the 2006 laws. Mr Batmanov’s letter (above) states that, “Alexander Litvinenko
did not make part of a terrorist organization and was not accused by Russian law
enforcement bodies of having committed a terrorist crime.” That accords with my
understanding of the evidence

5.19 On the basis of the evidence currently before me, and in light of the considerations
set out above, I am therefore not persuaded that any action could have been taken
by the FSB against Mr Litvinenko in 2006 under the terms of either of the 2006 laws.
5.20 For completeness, I should add that the letter from Mr Batmanov made a further
suggestion, to the effect that the Terrorism Law only established a legal basis for
Russia’s armed forces to take international action against terrorism, and that it did not
create any similar legal basis for international action by the FSB. Mr Holiner disputed
this analysis. His view was that the Terrorism Law did indeed authorise international
action of this sort by the FSB, and that this was also clear from the relevant terms of
the Federal Security Service Law.
5.21 I find Mr Holiner’s reasoning on this point compelling, but in the end it is unnecessary
for me to reach a conclusion on it. There is a simple factual reason why the terms of
the 2006 laws did not permit any Russian forces to take action against Mr Litvinenko
in the UK, namely that he had not been involved in terrorist activities.

Wider considerations
5.22 But as I have already indicated, that is not the end of the matter. Professor Service,
rightly in my view, identified a further consideration. Even if the strict terms of the 2006
laws could not be brought to bear against Mr Litvinenko, can it be said that they had a
subtler, less formal effect of encouraging, or emboldening, or even licensing the FSB
to take action against Mr Litvinenko and others like him?
5.23 Professor Service helpfully put the 2006 laws into their historical context. He referred in
particular to the public outrage in Russia following the killing of five Russian diplomats
by a Chechen supporting terrorist group in Iraq, and also to FSB claims in July 2006
10
11

INQ022399 (page 11 paragraph 25)
INQ019146 (page 22 paragraph 68)

90

Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

that it had been responsible for the explosion in Ingushetia that had killed Shamil
Basayev, a leading Chechen terrorist.
5.24 Against this backdrop, Professor Service expressed the view that the 2006 amendment
to the anti-extremist law had an influence going beyond the scope of its black letter
provisions. In his report he put the matter in this way:
“The amendment did, however, have a political consequence of importance
by broadening the spectrum of targets to be pursued by the security agencies.
Not only out-and-out terrorists were mentioned but ‘extremists’ in general, and
extremism itself was described only in relation to imprecisely delineated categories
of activity. The door was left open to brand a large swathe of opponents of Putin
and his administration as extremists who needed to be eliminated. And terrorism
and extremism were frequently mentioned in the same breath by Putin and his
ministers. There was little attempt to make an official distinction between the two
phenomena that the legislation was directed against. To that extent, there was an
implicit licensing package for FSB operations abroad as well as in Russia.” 12
5.25 Professor Service expanded on this reasoning in giving oral evidence. When asked
whether it was his view that the 2006 laws had more of a political than a legal effect,
he stated:
“Yes, I think that’s a fair summary. In legal terms, only one of them related to
legal encouragement for taking physical action abroad, but generally taking the
two together, the political effect was to engender an environment within the FSB
and within public opinion that there was little difference between acting against
extremism and acting against terrorism… legally speaking, there is a distinction, but
it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the authorities wanted to fudge that distinction
and just create a new feeling for the FSB to feel free to act without constraint.” 13
He continued:
“We don’t have definite documentation about exactly why President Putin introduced
these two legal changes in 2006, but we do know that they were introduced to the
maximum of publicity, so that it is inconceivable that they were not thought to be
important elements in reinforcing support in public opinion for what the authorities
wanted to do.” 14
And further:
“We simply don’t know the extent to which those two amendments affected the
operational activity of the FSB. It seems a strong possibility that those amendments
opened a channel for the FSB that wasn’t as wide beforehand.” 15

12

INQ019146 (page 22 paragraph 69)
Service 28/47 lines 4-14
14
Service 28/48 lines 3-9
15
Service 28/51 lines 2-6
13

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 3: Continued opposition to President
Putin
5.26 The evidence shows that Mr Litvinenko’s political campaigning work, and in particular
his vocal criticism of President Putin, continued until his final illness. There does not
appear to have been any let up – either through concern at what the new Russian laws
might herald, or because of his increasing security work. Mr Goldfarb did observe,
however, that the balance of Mr Litvinenko’s campaigning work in the later years was
more towards writing, for example on the Chechenpress website, than on the public
appearances that had been a feature of his first few years in the UK.16
5.27 It was, in fact, in July 2006 that Mr Litvinenko published an article on the Chechenpress
website that Professor Service referred to as the “climax” of Mr Litvinenko’s attacks
on President Putin.17 The article, which is in evidence before me, accused President
Putin of paedophilia.18 It read as follows:
“A few days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin walked from the Big Kremlin
Palace to his Residence. At one of the Kremlin squares, the president stopped to
chat with the tourists. Among them was a boy aged 4 or 5.
’What is your name?’ Putin asked.
’Nikita,’ the boy replied.
Putin knee[le]d, lifted the boy’s T-shirt and kissed his stomach.
The world public is shocked. Nobody can understand why the Russian president
did such a strange thing as kissing the stomach of an unfamiliar small boy.
The explanation may be found if we look carefully at the so-called ‘blank spots’ in
Putin’s biography.
After graduating from the Andropov Institute, which prepares officers for the KGB
intelligence service, Putin was not accepted into the foreign intelligence. Instead,
he was sent to a junior position in KGB Leningrad Directorate. This was a very
unusual twist for a career of an Andropov Institute’s graduate with fluent German.
Why did that happen with Putin?
Because, shortly before his graduation, his bosses learned that Putin was a
pedophile [sic]. So say some people who knew Putin as a student at the Institute.
The Institute officials feared to report this to their own superiors, which would cause
an unpleasant investigation. They decided it was easier just to avoid sending Putin
abroad under some pretext. Such a solution is not unusual for the secret services.
Many years later, when Putin became the FSB director and was preparing for the
presidency, he began to seek and destroy any compromising materials collected
against him by the secret services over earlier years. It was not difficult, provided
he himself was the FSB director. Among other things, Putin found videotapes in
16

Goldfarb 26/56-57
INQ019146 (page 25 paragraph 77)
18
BLK000134
17

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the FSB Internal Security directorate, which showed him making sex with some
underage boys.
Interestingly, the video was recorded in the same conspiratorial flat in Polyanka
Street in Moscow where Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Skuratov was secretly
video-taped with two prostitutes. Later, in the famous scandal, Putin (on Roman
Abramovich’s instructions) blackmailed Skuratov with these tapes and tried to
persuade the Prosecutor-General to resign. In that conversation, Putin mentioned
to Skuratov that he himself was also secretly video-taped making sex at the same
bed. (But of course, he did not tell it was pedophilia [sic] rather than normal sex.)
Later, Skuratov wrote about this in his book Variant Drakona (pp.153-154).”
5.28 It hardly needs saying that the allegations made by Mr Litvinenko against President
Putin in this article were of the most serious nature. Could they have had any
connection with his death?
5.29 Nor were these the last public allegations that Mr Litvinenko made against President
Putin. Only a matter of days before he fell ill, Mr Litvinenko publicly accused President
Putin of responsibility for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya (see paragraphs 5.67 –
5.77 below). And, as I have already described, in the statement that he signed on his
deathbed, he accused the Russian President of responsibility for another murder –
his own.

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 4: Did Alexander Litvinenko fall out with
and/or attempt to blackmail Boris
Berezovsky?
5.30 Item 17 of the Inquiry’s List of Issues refers to the “possible involvement of Boris
Berezovsky in Alexander Litvinenko’s death”.
5.31 This issue arises from allegations that have been made principally, but not solely,
by Andrey Lugovoy. Put very shortly, the allegation is that Mr Litvinenko fell out with
Mr Berezovsky about money in the months before he died, that he then tried to
blackmail Mr Berezovsky, and that as a result Mr Berezovsky ordered his killing.
5.32 This allegation was advanced by Mr Lugovoy at the press conference that he held
in Moscow on 31 May 2007. He told the press that he had three explanations for
Mr Litvinenko’s death. The first two were that Mr Litvinenko had been killed by UK
agencies or by the Russian mafia. His third explanation, which he said seemed to him
to be “the most plausible”, was as follows:
“I am talking about Berezovsky who is known as an outstanding master of political
intrigue. Litvinenko told me, that Berezovsky in fact sacked him by decreasing
his salary threefold. Lately both Sasha and Berezovsky thought that the Office
of the Russian Federation Procurator General and the British will come to an
understanding and Berezovsky will be extradited to Russia.
In this connection I would like to tell you what Sasha had told Dmitry Kovtun not
long before his death, when we met together in October of last year. During our
dinner at one of the Chinatown restaurants in London, Litvinenko, enlarging on the
subject of ways to make money, touched upon the resumed negotiations between
Russia and the UK regarding Berezovsky’s extradition. Lamenting the fact that
Berezovsky did not appreciate the services rendered to him by Litvinenko, who
allegedly saved his life more than once, Litvinenko told Kovtun, that he had the
most important materials of a compromising nature, regarding the illegal activity
of Berezovsky on the UK territory. If any part of the documents pertaining to the
circumstances of his obtaining the refugee status were to be made public, then
he (Berezovsky) would have huge problems. Litvinenko hinted to Dima, that
especially now, when Russia raised an issue with the UK of extraditing Berezovsky,
it would be very opportune to let Berezovsky know that such materials exist, and
to put a value of several million dollars on them. Still being financially dependent
on Berezovsky – Berezovsky was paying his son’s tuition fees and the family’s
accommodation in London – Litvinenko asked Kovtun to find a reliable person,
whom he would introduce to Berezovsky, which person would be able to familiarise
Berezovsky with the materials, compromising him. Litvinenko was absolutely sure
of the success of this enterprise, referring to the explosive nature and authenticity
of the compromising materials that he possessed. Since the conversation took
place when I left the table, Litvinenko asked Kovtun to keep that conversation
between them, fearing that I, as a person who could contact Berezovsky at any
point, would expose Litvinenko’s idea to him.
Not willing to participate in all that even indirectly, not taking Litvinenko seriously,
Kovtun and I decided it prudent to forget this conversation as soon as possible.
However recalling now the details of my meetings with Litvinenko, his conviction
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Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

that the compromising materials he possessed could have fundamentally changed
his (Litvinenko’s) reduced financial circumstances, I can suppose that he did
not abandon the idea of blackmailing Berezovsky which could have led to such
lamentable consequences for him.” 19
5.33 There is evidence that Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko had dinner together
in a restaurant in Chinatown on 17 October 2006, and it would appear to have been
that evening to which Mr Lugovoy was referring in his speech at the press conference.
5.34 About four years later, in a statement dated March 2011, Mr Lugovoy gave a slightly
different account of this episode. He said this:20
“We, that is Mr Litvinenko, Mr Kovtun and I, had a meeting at 18.00 with RISC on
17 October 2007 [this is clearly a typo for 2006]. After the meeting at RISC, when
we were walking back to the hotel, Mr Litvinenko was walking next to Mr Kovtun
some distance ahead of me. I was speaking on my mobile phone. Whilst we were
walking I could not hear what Mr Litvinenko was saying to Mr Kovtun. However,
later that day Mr Kovtun told me that Mr Litvinenko resumed his complaint that
Mr Berezovsky was not treating him fairly and that he simply could not survive on
the money that Mr Berezovsky was paying to him. He said that he knew information
regarding Mr Berezovsky that was worth a great deal of money. He said that he
needed to find someone substantial and trustworthy who could sell this information
without the source of the information coming back to himself.
I do not know why Mr Litvinenko said this to Mr Kovtun. One possibility may be that
Mr Litvinenko thought that Mr Kovtun would tell me the content of this conversation
and that perhaps I would tell Mr Berezovsky or Mr Patarkatsishvili (who would tell
Mr Berezovsky) with the end result being that Mr Berezovsky would recognise
the value/threat of the information held by Mr Litvinenko and therefore reward
him accordingly (and return his monthly salary to its previous level of £5,000 and
perhaps even increase it).”
5.35 I will have to make findings as to whether Mr Litvinenko did have a conversation along
these lines with Mr Kovtun on 17 October 2006 – either over dinner in Chinatown or
as they walked away from the meeting at RISC. More importantly, I will have to make
a finding as to whether Mr Berezovsky had any involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
Those are matters that I will address in due course.
5.36 The accounts that Mr Lugovoy has given raise a straightforward factual issue upon
which, at least to an extent, his broader allegations of blackmail and complicity in
murder all rest. That factual issue concerns Mr Litvinenko’s reaction to the reduction
in the payments that Mr Berezovsky was making to him that, as we have already seen,
took place in early or mid 2006. What was Mr Litvinenko’s reaction to the reduction
in payments? Did the two men argue? Was Mr Litvinenko upset, and if so was he
sufficiently upset to contemplate blackmailing his old friend?
5.37 I heard oral evidence from a number of those who were close to one or other of the
two men, and who were well placed to report on the state of relations between them.
Their evidence can be summarised as follows.

19
20

INQ001886 (pages 5-6)
INQ001788 (pages 21-22 paragraphs 127-128)

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

5.38 Marina Litvinenko said that she had seen the reduction in Mr Berezovsky’s payments in
2006 as an opportunity for their family to reduce its dependence on him. She said that
Mr Litvinenko had been “a little bit sad, emotional,” but her view was that Mr Litvinenko
was upset at the thought that Mr Berezovsky did not need him anymore, rather than
financial issues. She was very clear that the underlying friendship between her
husband and Mr Berezovsky had not been broken.21 She agreed with the proposition
that Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky were close friends until Mr Litvinenko’s death
and added, “I knew these two people have been very special to each other.” 22 When
asked whether she knew anything about Mr Litvinenko blackmailing Mr Berezovsky
in October 2006, she said:
“I don’t believe it because I have no evidence during this time Sasha did like
to blackmail Boris Berezovsky because particularly in October 2006, I didn’t feel
Sasha struggling about money and had any emotional problem at all.” 23
5.39 Mr Goldfarb’s evidence on this issue was broadly consistent with that of Marina
Litvinenko. On the first occasion that he gave evidence, he said that he had not been
aware of any rift between the two men. While Mr Litvinenko had been “a little grouchy”
about the reduction in payments, he would not have described him as upset. He
added that he would have expected Mr Litvinenko to have told him, “if he was really
upset and thought it was unfair”, but that he had never done so.24
5.40 When Mr Goldfarb returned to give evidence, he said that he did not even suspect that
Mr Berezovsky might have been responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death. Regarding the
relationship between the two men, he said:
“There was, and it cannot be denied, some sort of a cooling off between them for
a short period before Sasha was killed which was related to the reduction of his
support, but… the support was reduced only marginally because Boris continued
to pay for schooling and for the… house. And Sasha was naturally upset when
his amount – the amount of money was reduced, but of course he expected that
he would… be getting more money elsewhere, and he did not, so he was a little
bit – financial strait, but it never, ever, would even occur to him to kind of confront
Boris about that or accuse him of something, not to mention blackmail, no. So it’s
totally inconceivable.” 25
5.41 Mr Reilly’s evidence on this issue was rather different. He recalled that there had
been “a big row” between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky in the late summer of
2006, which had resulted in them not speaking to each other for a time. However, he
said that the row was not about money, but about Mr Berezovsky’s failure to follow
some advice that Mr Litvinenko had given him (and about which Mr Litvinenko had
subsequently been proved correct). He also said that the two men had been reconciled
by October 2006 (that being the time at which Mr Lugovoy claimed that Mr Litvinenko
was planning to blackmail Mr Berezovsky).26
5.42 Given the allegation of blackmail, it is also noteworthy that Mr Reilly immediately went
on to describe Mr Litvinenko in the following terms:
21

Marina Litvinenko 3/125-129
Marina Litvinenko 4/110-111
23
Marina Litvinenko 4/11 lines 11-15
24
Goldfarb 5/102-107
25
Goldfarb 26/2-8
26
Reilly 10/23-26
22

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“I don’t think naturally as a man he was particularly acquisitive at all, really. I think
sufficiency was… the way he was. He… was never expressing views about buying
Ferraris or Rolex watches or anything like that but I would imagine, though, that
that… may have been affected simply by the Western world…. He was beginning
to understand, unfortunately, the importance of money in a Western economy, but
he was not avaricious and he was not spending money will-nilly.” 27
5.43 Like Mr Reilly, MrAttew understood that Mr Litvinenko had fallen out with Mr Berezovsky
and then made up with him again in the period September to October 2006.28
5.44 Mr Tabunov, an acquaintance whom Mr Litvinenko met occasionally in central London,
had a slightly different understanding of the position. He remembered Mr Litvinenko
telling him that he had had enough of Mr Berezovsky and no longer wanted anything
to do with him. His memory was that Mr Litvinenko had said that he no longer wanted
or needed any payments from Mr Berezovsky, he did not want to be dependent
on him, and was frustrated because there were always too many people around
Mr Berezovsky to talk in private. In contrast to the evidence given by Mr Attew and
Mr Reilly, Mr Tabunov did not remember Mr Litvinenko mentioning a reconciliation; but
the two met relatively rarely, and Mr Tabunov indicated that Mr Berezovsky was not in
any event a regular topic of conversation.29
5.45 Mr Shvets’ evidence was that Mr Litvinenko had called him in June or July 2006 and
told him that he had been “fired” by Mr Berezovsky, “because of some intrigues.”
Mr Shvets recalled Mr Litvinenko saying that he had had a stand up row with
Mr Berezovsky, although he added that Litvinenko was an “emotional person” who
would “explode immediately and start yelling at anybody… but then cool down five
minutes later,” and that he had been laughing when he recounted the episode to
Mr Shvets. Although Mr Shvets said that Mr Litvinenko was not in the habit of bearing
grudges for very long, he did not remember Mr Litvinenko ever telling him about any
subsequent meetings or communications with Mr Berezovsky. He added, though, that
he could not imagine Mr Litvinenko ever threatening Mr Berezovsky. He said, “They
were so closely connected for many years that I can’t imagine Sasha threatening
Boris Berezovsky with anything.” 30
5.46 Mr Bukovsky’s memory was that Mr Litvinenko argued over politics and also practical
matters, in particular Mr Berezovsky’s failure to accept Mr Litvinenko’s advice on
security matters. But he said that there had been no personal quarrel between the
two men, and that the friendship between them had remained intact throughout.31
5.47 I also heard evidence on this point from two of Mr Berezovsky’s employees –
Mr Voronkov, his office manager, and Mr Cotlick, Mr Berezovsky’s personal assistant.
5.48 Mr Cotlick had been aware from discussions with Mr Litvinenko that his regular
payments had been cut, but said that this was not the type of matter that he would
expect Mr Berezovsky to tell him about. As to Mr Litvinenko’s reaction, he said: “I
can’t say that he was pleased with the fact that his salary was reduced, but nobody
would probably. At the same time I have never heard from him a bad word about
Mr Berezovsky.” He said that neither Mr Berezovsky nor Mr Litvinenko had ever said
27

Reilly 10/27-28
Attew 13/23
29
Tabunov 13/130-132
30
Shvets 24/56-58
31
Bukovsky 26/91-92
28

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

anything to him about blackmail, nor was he aware of any other evidence to support
the allegation against Mr Litvinenko. In his mind, the matter amounted to no more
than press speculation.32
5.49 Mr Voronkov was unaware of any dispute between Mr Berezovsky and Mr Litvinenko,
although he said that he would not have expected Mr Berezovsky to discuss such
matters with him. What he was able to say was that he did not notice any change in
the way that the two men behaved towards one another during this period.33
5.50 In summary, I heard evidence on this issue from a wide range of those who were close
to Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky during the second half of 2006. It seems clear
that the level of the regular payments to Mr Litvinenko was reduced, and there is good
evidence that he was unhappy about this. There is also good evidence that there was
some sort of row between the two men during this period, but much less evidence that
the row was about the reduction in payments. Some of those who thought there had
been a row also thought there had been a reconciliation. There was strong evidence
that whatever row may have taken place, it had not affected the underlying friendship
between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky. None of the witnesses offered any support
to the allegation that Mr Litvinenko either had been blackmailing Mr Berezovsky, or
had been planning to do so.
5.51 I would add that both Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky left substantial quantities
of written evidence in the form of various witness statements and transcripts of
interviews. None of this material supports the suggestion that there had been a serious
rift between the two men in the months before Mr Litvinenko’s death, or indeed at
any time. For example, in a statement given to the Metropolitan Police Service after
Mr Litvinenko’s death, Mr Berezovsky stated that the two men had “continue[d] to
have good relations” after Mr Litvinenko had stopped working for him.34 And there is
nothing in the transcripts of Mr Litvinenko’s interviews with Detective Inspector Hyatt
to suggest that there had been a serious rift between him and Mr Berezovsky.
5.52 This brings me to the evidence of Julia Svetlichnaya.
5.53 The essential facts about Dr Svetlichnaya’s contact with Mr Litvinenko are, I think,
uncontroversial. The evidence that Dr Svetlichnaya gave in this regard may be
summarised as follows:
a. In 2006, Dr Svetlichnaya was a research student at the Centre for the Study of
Democracy at Westminster University
b. One of the subjects of Dr Svetlichnaya’s research was the issue of Chechen
identity. She wished in that connection to interview Akhmed Zakayev
c. In order to arrange such an interview, Dr Svetlichnaya contacted Mr Berezovsky,
whose phone number she had been given by a journalist. Mr Berezovsky said
that he could not introduce her to Mr Zakayev, but he gave her contact details for
Mr Litvinenko – who, he said, might introduce her to Mr Zakayev. Dr Svetlichnaya
formed the impression that the intention was that Mr Litvinenko would vet her in
order for a decision to be taken as to whether she should be allowed to interview
Mr Zakayev
32

Cotlick 25/41-47
Voronkov 16/193-194
34
INQ002895 (page 6)
33

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d. Dr Svetlichnaya made contact with Mr Litvinenko in late March or early April 2006.
They subsequently met six or seven times between the end of April and the end
of May. The meetings took place in various locations, including itsu in Piccadilly,
Hyde Park, Mr Litvinenko’s house and the Park Lane Hilton Hotel. Mr Zakayev
was present at the last meeting35
5.54 There is one particular element of Dr Svetlichnaya’s evidence that is of potential
relevance to the issue of blackmail. Dr Svetlichnya was taken through this part of her
evidence with some care when she gave oral testimony at the Inquiry. What she told
me, in summary, was that during the course of her meetings with Mr Litvinenko, he said
that he had plans to take action against a group of wealthy Russians. The intention
that he expressed appeared to be to obtain secret files relating to these individuals
and then to blackmail them. Dr Svetlichnaya told me that this was a recurring theme
of their conversations.36 She said that the expression used by Mr Litvinenko was
that he would “force them to share”, meaning their money – she also said that he
mentioned blackmail, and that he also talked of selling sensitive information.37 She
said Mr Litvinenko talked of his intention to demand payment of US$10,000 from each
individual. Dr Svetlichnaya was asked what Mr Litvinenko had said about his intended
targets and she replied, “I can just quote him: bastards, bastards from the Kremlin,
bastards like Abramovich. That kind of person.” 38
5.55 I emphasise at this stage that I have taken into account only the evidence that Dr
Svetlichnaya gave to me orally. Although there are a number of newspaper articles in
evidence that purport to give her account of her meetings with Mr Litvinenko, I have
disregarded them as it became clear when she gave evidence before me that those
articles misrepresent her account in significant respects.
5.56 The view that I have taken is that Dr Svetlichnaya’s evidence does not assist me in
reaching my conclusions about Mr Litvinenko’s death. I have taken that view for the
following reasons.
5.57 First, the principal allegation that has been raised – by Mr Lugovoy – is that
Mr Litvinenko may have been blackmailing Mr Berezovsky. Dr Svetlichnaya did not
say that Mr Litvinenko mentioned Mr Berezovsky as one of the intended targets of his
“force to share” plans, and moreover the description of his intended targets that he
did give to Dr Svetlichnaya – “bastards from the Kremlin” – would not appear to have
included Mr Berezovsky.
5.58 Second, although on Dr Svetlichnaya’s account Mr Litvinenko was clearly describing
some sort of blackmail plans, those plans would appear still to have been at an
early stage only weeks before he became ill. Dr Svetlichnaya did not suggest that
Mr Litvinenko told her that he had actually implemented any of these plans, or that he
had even started to implement them.

35

Svetlichnaya 25/82-98
Svetlichnaya 25/105
37
Svetlichnaya 25/102-104; 25/116
38
Svetlichnaya 25/103-104
36

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 5:

The Ivanov report

5.59 I observed at paragraphs 4.137 and 4.138 above that there was no particular reason
to think that Mr Litvinenko’s role in providing sensitive and damaging information in
due diligence reports ever became known either to those who received the reports
or to those who were affected by them. That was because it was standard practice
in the security industry to preserve the anonymity of sources such as Mr Litvinenko.
It followed that – again, in general terms – there was no reason to think that the
due diligence reports that Mr Litvinenko provided for the security companies in 2006
played any part in his death.
5.60 On the evidence that I have heard, however, there was one of Mr Litvinenko’s reports
to which this reasoning did not, or at least did not necessarily, apply.
5.61 The report in question was one of the reports that Mr Litvinenko and Mr Shvets
prepared for Mr Attew. The subject of the report was a Russian politician and close
ally of Mr Putin named Viktor Ivanov.
5.62 The basic facts relating to this report appear, from the evidence before me, to be as
follows:
a. The Ivanov report was one of a series of reports commissioned from Mr Litvinenko
by Mr Attew in about August or September 2006. Mr Attew was unable to
remember whether or not the report was the first that he had commissioned from
Mr Litvinenko39
b. Mr Litvinenko initially gave Mr Attew a report on Mr Ivanov that was only a third
of a page long. Mr Attew considered the report to be far below the standard he
expected, and told Mr Litvinenko so. Mr Litvinenko told Mr Attew that the report
had been drafted for him by Mr Lugovoy 40
c. Mr Litvinenko then asked Mr Shvets to draft a report on Mr Ivanov. In response,
Mr Shvets drafted an eight-page report. Some of the content of the report was
information that Mr Shvets had been told by Mr Litvinenko41
d. Mr Shvets completed the report and emailed it to Mr Litvinenko on 19 September
200642
e. A copy of the report is in evidence before me.43 The report contains detailed and
serious criticism both of Mr Ivanov and (as Mr Shvets observed) of Mr Putin.44
Mr Attew described the report as “extremely damaging”. 45 In summary:
(i) The report details Mr Ivanov’s early career in the Committee for State Security
(KGB). It notes that he served in Afghanistan and in the human resources
department, and asserts that these postings indicate that he was considered
to be an underachiever and a “failure”
39

Attew 13/25-27
Attew 13/27-28
41
Shvets 24/65
42
Shvets 24/72
43
INQ006481
44
Shvets 24/81-82
45
Attew 13/37
40

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(ii) The report asserts that, whilst posted in St Petersburg (then Leningrad),
Mr Ivanov set up businesses and deceived his KGB superiors that they were
for operational purposes, whereas he was in fact running them as private
ventures
(iii) The report alleges that, during his time in St Petersburg, Mr Ivanov developed
close links with the Tambovskaya criminal group and its leader Vladimir
Kumarin. It asserts that, as a result of this “murky business association”,
Mr Ivanov acquired an interest in the St Petersburg seaport, which, it claimed,
he still held at the date of the report
(iv) The report asserts that Mr Ivanov was a protégé of Mr Putin, and that the
careers of the two men were very closely connected. It asserts that Mr Putin
was complicit in Mr Ivanov’s dealings with “gangsters” in St Petersburg, and
also that Mr Putin himself was involved in assisting a Colombian drugs cartel
in a money laundering scheme
e.

On about 21 September, Mr Litvinenko told Mr Shvets that he had passed the
report to the client, whom we know was Mr Attew 46

f.

Mr Attew was very pleased with the second version of the report. He told me that
he regarded it as being of “exceptional” quality, and he passed it to his clients47

g.

A few days later – Mr Shvets thought it was probably between 21 September and
30 September – Mr Litvinenko told Mr Shvets that a ‘Russian source’ of his had
also produced a report on Mr Ivanov which the client had said was “trash”. He
added that he had passed a copy of Mr Shvets’ report to the Russian source to
show him how he should write his reports in future48

h.

Although Mr Litvinenko did not tell Mr Shvets, either at the time or at any time
before his death, that this ‘Russian source’ was Mr Lugovoy,49 there is very
strong evidence to that effect. Mr Litvinenko did tell Mr Shvets that the Russian
source had worked for Mr Berezovsky and had been imprisoned – that fits with
Mr Lugovoy. He also, as I have said above, told Mr Shvets that this other source
had prepared a report on Mr Ivanov that Mr Attew had rejected – that also fits
with Mr Lugovoy, and Mr Attew stated in terms that he only received two Ivanov
reports50 – there is, in other words, no other candidate to whom Mr Litvinenko
might have been referring. Finally, Mr Litvinenko told Mr Shvets that he had met
the Russian source shortly before being taken ill.51 Marina Litvinenko also gave
evidence that she believed that Mr Litvinenko had shown the Shvets Ivanov report
to Mr Lugovoy52

i.

Mr Attew’s evidence was that the Shvets due diligence report on Mr Ivanov caused
the collapse of the deal that his clients had been considering. He assumed that, as

46

Shvets 24/73
Attew 13/41; 13/112
48
Shvets 24/73
49
Shvets 24/100
50
Attew 13/104
51
Shvets 24/102
52
Marina Litvinenko 4/6
47

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

a result, Mr Ivanov would have suffered significant financial losses.53 Mr Shvets
gave evidence to a similar effect54
5.63 The possibility that the Ivanov report may have found its way to the Kremlin via
Mr Lugovoy, and that this may have been linked to Mr Litvinenko’s death, was first
aired in public by Mr Shvets in an interview broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in December
2006. A transcript of the interview is in evidence before me.55 In the course of that
interview, Mr Shvets described Mr Litvinenko giving the Ivanov report to Mr Lugovoy
as having “triggered the entire assassination of Sasha.”
5.64 A similar theory was subsequently proposed in an article in the Novaya Gazeta dated
24 May 2007. That article suggested that the Ivanov report had come to the attention
of the authorities in Russia after it had been found in Mr Lugovoy’s possession when
he was stopped and searched at Sheremetyevo Airport on his return to Moscow from
London.56
5.65 Is it possible that the Ivanov report triggered Mr Litvinenko’s killing, or at least had
some connection with it? One obvious difficulty with this theory is that, on Mr Shvets’
evidence, Mr Lugovoy only received the report a few weeks before what appears
to have been the first attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko. Mr Shvets was asked about
this, but was not shaken from his “positive” belief that the Ivanov report triggered
an operation to murder Mr Litvinenko. His reasoning, as he explained it to me, was
that such an operation could have been mounted quickly since the Russian security
agencies already had access to, and experience in the use of, polonium, as well
as inside knowledge of Mr Berezovsky’s office, and Mr Lugovoy had easy access
to Mr Litvinenko. He believed it to be credible, therefore, that the planning for
Mr Litvinenko’s poisoning had not started until September (and presumably, on his
reasoning, the end of September) 2006.57 He concluded:
“… look, before Sasha was poisoned, he had lived in London for several years,
and over this period, he was consistent in making statements, critical statements,
against Putin… some of this criticism was very insulting, very personal, and still
Sasha was alive. Nothing happened. He was alive and well. And suddenly he was
poisoned. So it leads me to believe that we should be looking for something which
happened shortly before he was poisoned. Something changed in his life-style
shortly before he was poisoned, and what changes? It was the fact that he was
fired by Boris Berezovsky, it was the fact that he got involved in other business
activities, which leads to the report, et cetera.” 58
5.66 In his oral closing submissions on behalf of Marina Litvinenko, Mr Emmerson QC
described Mr Litvinenko’s action in giving a copy of the Shvets Ivanov report to
Mr Lugovoy as “a fatal mistake”. Mr Emmerson suggested that a similar significance
could be placed on the fact that Mr Lugovoy knew from his dealings at RISC that
Mr Litvinenko had been tasked with investigating Mr Gordeyev, who was, in his words,
“a high-ranking official in the Russian government”. Mr Emmerson submitted that from
the moment Mr Litvinenko gave Mr Lugovoy a copy of the Ivanov report:59
53

Attew 13/112-113
Shvets 24/79-80
55
HMG000513
56
INQ015674
57
Shvets 24/82-84
58
Shvets 24/84-85
59
Emmerson 34/54; 34/59-60
54

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Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

“Lugovoy not only knew that Litvinenko had been tasked to produce a devastating
report on Alexei Gordeyev, and that he had been tasked to produce a devastating
report which implicated both Ivanov and Putin directly in organised crime, but he
had a copy of the report in his hands. It can hardly be a coincidence… that two
months later it was Lugovoy who was chosen to be the man to kill Mr Litvinenko.
The direct and immediate link to Putin and the Kremlin is just too obvious to ignore.”

103

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 6:

The murder of Anna Politkovskaya

5.67 Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian journalist on the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
She was a critic of President Putin – Professor Service described her as, “a regular
harrier of both Putin and Chechnya’s brutal ruler Ramzan Kadyrov”. 60 I have already
mentioned her on several occasions, for example in the reference to her investigations
into the Moscow theatre siege (paragraph 4.38 above) and to her work on the War
Crimes Commission established by Mr Zakayev (paragraph 4.56 above).
5.68 On the evidence that I have heard, Anna Politkovskaya and Mr Litvinenko were both
campaigners who shared a cause and were also close friends.
5.69 It appears that Mr Litvinenko and Ms Politkovskaya first met in 2003 at court hearings
in London relating to Mr Zakayev’s extradition.61 Marina Litvinenko said that the two
became friends, and that Ms Politkovskaya subsequently visited them “once or twice”
in London.62 Mr Goldfarb, who was himself a friend of Ms Politkovskaya, thought that
the two had been “very close”; he said that they had “a natural kinship as converts”,
Mr Litvinenko having been a KGB officer and Ms Politkovskaya’s father having been
a senior Russian diplomat.63
5.70 I should add in this connection that I am aware of suggestions that have been made
that Ms Politkovskaya did not trust Mr Litvinenko because of his FSB past (see Putin’s
Labyrinth by Steve Levine, page 125). None of the witnesses who gave evidence
before me mentioned this, but that does not of course mean that it is not true.
5.71 The relationship between the two was not purely social. I heard that they collaborated
on investigative work, one example being their work together with regard to possible
FSB involvement in the Moscow theatre siege.64
5.72 I also heard that Mr Litvinenko became very concerned for Ms Politkovskaya’s safety.
Marina Litvinenko told me that Mr Litvinenko had urged Ms Politkovskaya to take
advantage of her American citizenship and to “go and write [her] articles in America”;
but she had refused. Mr Litvinenko had also given her personal security advice, “how
to feel safe if you went to your apartment, how to check if nobody is staying in a
corner”. In the end, Marina Litvinenko reflected, this advice had been insufficient,
“unfortunately, he couldn’t save her”. 65
5.73 Anna Politkovskaya was murdered by gunmen outside her Moscow apartment on
7 October 2006.
5.74 All of those who gave evidence to me on this subject were agreed that Mr Litvinenko
was deeply affected by Ms Politkovskaya’s death. Marina Litvinenko recalled giving
him the news, and said that, “he was just broken down because for him it was
absolutely devastating news”.66 Mr Quirke said that Mr Litvinenko had mentioned
Ms Politkovskaya’s death to him, and that he had been upset about it, as well as

60

INQ019146 (page 23 paragraph 73)
Marina Litvinenko 3/145; Goldfarb 27/112
62
Marina Litvinenko 3/145
63
Goldfarb 5/127; 27/112
64
Goldfarb 5/128
65
Marina Litvinenko 3/146
66
Marina Litvinenko 4/33
61

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Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

being worried that “he could be next.” 67 Mr Attew told me that Mr Litvinenko had been
“outraged” at Ms Politkovskaya’s death.68
5.75 Mr Litvinenko attended two events in London held in response to Ms Politkovskaya’s
murder. The first was a memorial meeting held at Westminster on the afternoon of
13 October 2006; I will return to that meeting shortly.
5.76 The second of these events was a meeting at the Front Line Club in London on
the evening of 19 October 2006. Marina Litvinenko said that she had been aware
of the meeting at the time, but that she had not accompanied Mr Litvinenko to it.69
Mr Zakayev told me that he had taken Mr Litvinenko to the meeting as his guest.
He was one of the platform speakers. During the meeting, Mr Litvinenko made a
short speech from the floor publicly accusing President Putin of being responsible
for Anna Politkovskaya’s murder. A video recording of that speech was made, which
was played to the Inquiry.70 Mr Zakayev said that he “absolutely” agreed with what
Mr Litvinenko had said, although he had not said so expressly in his own speech at
the Front Line Club that evening because of the post that he then held as Minister of
Foreign Affairs in the exiled Chechen government.
5.77 When Mr Zakayev was asked whether he thought that Mr Litvinenko’s outspokenness
about Ms Politkovskaya’s death was linked in any way to his own death, Mr Zakayev
replied; “We were on the same list, Anna Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and myself.” 71

67

Quirke 11/64-66
Attew 13/20
69
Marina Litvinenko 4/38-42
70
INQ017681 [video]
71
Zakayev 26/160-161
68

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 7:

British citizenship

5.78 I have referred above (at paragraph 3.98) to the strong sense of attachment that
Mr Litvinenko demonstrated to his adopted nation. I mentioned Marina Litvinenko’s
evidence about her husband flying the flag of St George during the 2006 World Cup.
5.79 Mrs Litvinenko explained in evidence that the family became eligible for naturalisation
as British citizens in 2006, and that they had submitted their applications during
the summer of that year. The applications were granted and all three then attended
a citizenship ceremony at Haringey Civic Centre. The ceremony took place on
13 October 2006.72
5.80 Several witnesses referred to Mr Litvinenko’s delight at being granted British citizenship.
Mr Attew, for example, recalled that Mr Litvinenko had come to his office “elated at the
fact that he was holding a British passport. He was British… he was extremely proud.”
He added that Mr Litvinenko ran next door to see Mr Reilly.73 Mr Reilly described what
was clearly the same occasion:
“… he ran in one day when he was given his British passport, he just absolutely
ran in, and threw it down on the desk and… wanted to go for a drink… He was
delighted, he was over the moon, he was ecstatic, he was literally jumping up in
my office, I was calming him down, I only had coffee to give him.” 74
5.81 Mr Litvinenko himself expressed his feelings about his British citizenship towards the
end of the last of his interviews with DI Hyatt. The relevant section of the transcript
reads as follows:
“I wouldn’t like you to think that this is some, some kind of pompous political
statement, but since all this happened I would like you to know very clearly what
my position regarding this matter is. As you understand last month I was granted
British Citizenship and I very much love this country, and its people, although
unfortunately I haven’t learnt the English language completely yet. I am proud to
be able to say that I’m a British Citizen. Yes they did try to kill me and possibly I
may die, but I will die, as a free person, and my son and wife are free people. And
Britain is a great country. When after we were given asylum here I took my son to
the Tower and I showed him the British crown, and I told him, ‘Sonny, you must
defend this country in future until the last drop of your blood,’ and he said, ‘Yes
Dad’. I told him, ‘Remember for the rest of your life this country saved us, and do
everything whatever you might be able to do in order to defend this country.’” 75
5.82 When Anatoly Litvinenko gave evidence before me, he frankly admitted that although
he could remember visiting the Tower with his father, he did not recall what his father
had said to him on that occasion. But he confirmed that the words that I have quoted
above were entirely consistent with what he knew of his father’s feelings. He said:
“… he would always go on about the integrity of this nation… the honesty and
transparency with which judicial processes were carried out as well as the honesty

72

Marina Litvinenko 3/112-113
Attew 13/21
74
Reilly 10/21; Tabunov 13/128; Berezovsky 25/13-14
75
INQ016652 (page 8)
73

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Part 5 | Chapters 1 to 8 | Alexander Litvinenko’s final months

of the police and how deeply [this] contrasted with the regime under which he grew
up and the system in which he served.” 76
5.83 By coincidence, the British citizenship ceremony that the Litvinenko family attended
at Haringey Civic Centre took place on the same day as the memorial meeting for
Anna Politkovskaya at Westminster. Marina Litvinenko told me that she had gone
home after the citizenship ceremony, but Mr Litvinenko had gone to the memorial at
Westminster, taking Anatoly with him. She explained that Mr Litvinenko had felt it to
be very important that he should go and pay tribute to Ms Politkovskaya.77
5.84 Mr Bukovsky and Mr Felshtinsky were also at Westminster for the memorial that
afternoon. The evidence that they gave me about what Mr Litvinenko said to them
there illuminates at least one of the reasons why he was so pleased with his British
citizenship: it made him feel safer.
5.85 Mr Felshtinsky recalled that Mr Litvinenko said to him, “I just received my citizenship,
now they will not be able to touch me.” 78
5.86 Mr Bukovsky’s memory of that day was that Mr Litvinenko was, “very pleased with
getting British citizenship”. He also remembered that Mr Litvinenko had asked him,
“it makes me more secure, doesn’t it, it protects me?” Mr Bukovsky told me, “I had to
smile and say: well, not much, not really.” 79

76

Anatoly Litvinenko 4/134
Marina Litvinenko 4/34
78
Felshtinsky 23/169
79
Bukovsky 26/99
77

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 8: Alexander Litvinenko’s state of mind
in October 2006
5.87 I have already touched on some of the evidence that I received regarding Mr Litvinenko’s
state of mind in the weeks before he was taken ill. He was delighted, and excited, at
having received his British citizenship. He was shocked and outraged at the murder
of Anna Politkovskaya. At least in the view of some of those around him, her death
had made him more anxious for his own safety,80 perhaps compounding fears that he
already entertained regarding the 2006 laws. That said, as Mr Bukovsky observed,
Mr Litvinenko had become used to living with risk, “he definitely was aware [of risk]
all the time”. 81
5.88 It has been suggested that Mr Litvinenko may have taken his own life. This raises a
host of questions, which I will address when I come to reach my overall conclusions.
One issue that is obviously raised, however, and on which I heard evidence, is whether
Mr Litvinenko was suicidal in the days and weeks before 1 November 2006. The
evidence I heard on this issue was entirely consistent. He was not.
5.89 Marina Litvinenko gave evidence that her husband was busy and active during this
period. He was not depressed. In all the time that they had been together, she had not
known him to be suicidal for a single day. She told me that she was absolutely sure
that Mr Litvinenko had never thought of committing suicide.82
5.90 Mr Reilly said that the idea that Mr Litvinenko may have committed suicide was “utter
nonsense”. He explained this view in the following terms:
“Everything to live for, happy marriage, very fond of his son, British citizenship,
he’d made the leap from [Russia]. Opportunities ahead of him. And although he’d
had a row with Berezovsky, that seemed to have resolved itself. I think the state
of Russia genuinely upset him, and the corruption and the rest of it… So he was
still quite, I have to say bitter about that, but I would say quite the opposite of
committing suicide; it was to stay alive long enough to nail some people, if he
could, legitimately.” 83
5.91 Mr Goldfarb, Mr Attew and Mr Tabunov expressed views to a similar effect.84
5.92 I will, as I have said, address the issue of possible suicide when I come to reach my
final conclusions. But it can be said that none of Mr Litvinenko’s friends and family
who gave evidence provided any support at all for this theory. They were the ones
who knew him, who were around him during the days and weeks before he fell ill, and
none of them gave any credence to this idea.

80

Quirke 11/65-66
Bukovsky 26/99
82
Marina Litvinenko 4/45-46; 4/78-79
83
Reilly 10/29-30
84
Goldfarb 5/132; Attew 13/22; Tabunov 13/139-140
81

108

Part 6: The polonium trail – events in
October and November 2006
Chapter 1:

Introduction

6.1

The police officers investigating Alexander Litvinenko’s death painstakingly pieced
together the last weeks of his life. In doing so, they employed standard techniques such
as interviewing Mr Litvinenko’s friends and associates, investigating the movements
of persons of interest, interrogating telephone records and seizing and viewing closed
circuit television (CCTV) footage. The material obtained in this way has all been made
available to me, and a large amount of it has been put in evidence.

6.2

One task that the police undertook was to compile a schedule of all telephone calls
made to and from individuals considered to be of relevance to this Inquiry during the
period June to November 2006. I adduced this (lengthy) document into evidence, and
will refer to it hereafter as ‘the telephone schedule’.1

6.3

But in addition to such conventional sources of evidence, it became apparent that
there was a highly unusual, in fact unprecedented, line of inquiry to be followed.

6.4

Forensic scientists were sent to conduct tests for alpha radiation at a series of locations
across London and, subsequently, beyond. The results demonstrated widespread
radioactive contamination at locations that had been linked to Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun
and Mr Litvinenko in a period of a little over two weeks from mid October until the
onset of Mr Litvinenko’s fatal illness in early November.

6.5

In this Part of the Report, I propose to set out the narrative of events during that period.
In doing so I shall refer not only to the extensive witness and documentary evidence
that has been adduced, but also to the body of evidence arising from the testing for
radioactive contamination – the evidence that has become popularly known as ‘the
polonium trail’.

1

In fact, there are two versions of the telephone schedule in evidence: the original schedule, INQ017809;
and a subsequent slightly more detailed schedule covering only the dates 31 October 2006 to 3 November
2006, INQ020044

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 2: Introduction to the scientific evidence

6.6

I have referred above to the discovery of traces of polonium 210 in Mr Litvinenko’s
urine shortly before he died, and the subsequent tests that were carried out on his
body after his death, which indicated that he had died as a result of ingesting polonium
some weeks before his death.

6.7

This Part of the Report is concerned with a different series of tests – tests that were
conducted not on Mr Litvinenko’s body, but at a series of locations. Some were
associated with Mr Litvinenko, others with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun. Some of the
most significant results were found at locations associated with all three.

6.8

The monitoring of the scenes for contamination was a highly complex task. As various
sites were identified as having been contaminated in the days and weeks following
Mr Litvinenko’s death – hotel rooms, restaurants, aircraft, offices – the police were
faced with competing requirements, on the one hand to clean up the sites in the
interests of public safety, but, on the other hand, to obtain forensic evidence of the
contamination for the purposes of their investigation. Detective Inspector (DI) Mascall
said that the task that faced the police and the forensic scientists in this respect was
unprecedented, certainly in the United Kingdom (UK). In the course of his evidence
he explained the system of sequential testing that was adopted involving the police,
scientists from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and scientists from the
Health Protection Agency (HPA).2

6.9

Witness A1 was one of the principal scientific experts who gave evidence to the
Inquiry. She is an expert in nuclear physics who spent 34 years working for the AWE in
Aldermaston; she now works for another nuclear establishment in the UK. Of particular
relevance to the Inquiry, A1 recently held the post of Manager of Nuclear Forensics at
AWE. As will become apparent, A1 provided detailed and lengthy written evidence for
the Inquiry (including the ‘contamination schedule’ to which I refer below), and also
attended to give oral evidence on two occasions. I am most grateful for the assistance
that A1 has provided to the Inquiry.3

6.10 A1 gave evidence as to the means by which the testing was undertaken. Tests in the
field were conducted using alpha detectors. This equipment had the advantage of
being portable and was capable of detecting the presence and, where present, the
approximate strength of alpha radiation. Where significant findings were made, swabs
were taken with filter papers, which were then sent to the laboratory to be analysed
using more sophisticated spectrometry equipment.4
6.11 The first and most basic question was whether the alpha radiation found at the various
scenes had indeed been caused by contamination with polonium 210, as opposed
to any other radionuclide (for example, uranium 232, which has an alpha output
indistinguishable from that of polonium 210). A1 stated that in the light of laboratory
tests using both alpha and gamma spectrometry, she was absolutely confident in
the conclusion that the alpha radiation discovered at the multiple scenes had been
caused by polonium 210.5

2

Mascall 9/68-70
A fuller description of A1’s CV is at 2/101-104
4
A1 2/114
5
A1 2/114-115
3

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.12

Beyond that finding, the principal questions that arose were, first, the level of each of

the findings and, second, the inferences that could be drawn from the results.

6.13 In order to provide an evidential basis for assessing these questions, a schedule was
compiled containing all the results of all the testing that had been conducted at the
scenes that were relevant to the investigation. I admitted this document – which was
referred to during the course of the hearings as “the contamination schedule” into
evidence.6 It is an extremely long document, running to over 260 pages. In common
with almost all the documents that I have admitted into evidence, the contamination
schedule is available on the Inquiry website. The schedule contains very much more
detail regarding the testing results than is included in this Report; those wishing to
analyse this part of the evidence in more depth will find it an invaluable tool.
6.14 A1 gave oral evidence twice: on Day 2 and Day 20. On the second occasion she was
asked to express an opinion as to inferences that could be drawn from each of the
readings, in particular those in the higher range. Broadly speaking, A1 divided the
readings into two categories.
6.15 A1 categorised a small number of the very highest readings as indicating a site
of primary contamination, a term that she defined for these purposes as, “the
contamination that has come from the main source of material”. In practical terms, A1
agreed that the term referred to the first point of contamination – for example, where
a solution containing polonium 210 had been directly applied to a surface.7
6.16 The other category, referred to during the hearings as secondary or transferred
contamination, comprised sites where the contamination had been caused not as
a result of exposure to the main source of material – i.e. polonium 210 – but rather
as a result of the transfer of contamination, either directly or indirectly from a site of
primary contamination. A1 explained that there was: “a range of ways in which the
contamination from the original source can be transferred so that could potentially be
on somebody’s hand, by somebody’s foot, et cetera”.8 She also stated that:
“… the transfer of polonium from primary contamination areas to other areas is
dependent upon the physical and chemical properties of polonium and the surface
of the materials on which it is deposited. The amount of contamination transferred
is dependent upon the amount of original activity present on each successive
surface to which it is transferred.” 9
6.17 One important feature of the forensic testing in this case was that it was conducted
some weeks after the dates on which the contamination appears to have taken place.
As will be seen from the contamination schedule, most of the testing was undertaken
during December 2006. On the assumption that the contamination occurred in late
October and early November 2006, in each case there was a gap of several weeks
between the date of contamination and the date of testing.
6.18 A1 explained that this delay caused the readings to be lower than they would have
been at the time of contamination. First, in each case the level of alpha radiation
being emitted will have decreased during the intervening period as a result of the
rapid radioactive decay that is characteristic of polonium. Second, in some cases
6

INQ017934
A1 2/149-150
8
A1 2/150
9
A1 2/149
7

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

environmental conditions such as the cleaning of surfaces or (in the case of sinks,
drains, etc) the effect of running water will have further reduced the readings, a point
to which I shall return.
6.19 Finally for the purpose of this introduction, it should be noted that different considerations
flow from positive and negative findings of contamination.
6.20 In the instances where contamination was detected in relation to a place or an object,
there is a positive finding that calls for explanation. The existence of that positive
finding is not affected by the fact that, for the reasons discussed above, the original
level of contamination is likely to have been higher than that found.
6.21 The position is somewhat different where a location was tested without any positive
findings of contamination being made. As we shall see, there were a number of these
‘negative findings’ during the course of the investigation. They included buses on which
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun travelled, and also other buses on which Mr Litvinenko
had travelled.
6.22 One explanation for such findings is that the person of interest was not contaminated
at the time that he travelled on the bus. This is the counterpart to the conclusion
drawn in the case of positive findings of contamination, i.e. that the person of interest
was contaminated at the relevant time.
6.23 In the case of negative findings, however, there are other possibilities. One is that
the person of interest was contaminated at the time, but that he did not contaminate
the bus, perhaps because the journey was too short, and/or he did not sit down or
touch anything. Another possibility is that the person of interest was contaminated at
the time of travel and did contaminate the bus, but the contamination was no longer
present at the time of testing, as a result of decay and/or environmental factors such
as cleaning.
6.24 I therefore consider that the negative findings must be approached with caution. Given
the different possible explanations for these test results, and without any means of
determining which is the accurate explanation in any particular case, these results
must generally be treated as being neutral. There is one possible exception to this
general approach, to which I shall return below.

112

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Chapter 3:

Dmitri Kovtun

6.25 Before commencing on this stage of the narrative, it is necessary to introduce another
of the key figures in the events surrounding Mr Litvinenko’s death – Dmitri Kovtun.
6.26 Mr Kovtun is, with Mr Lugovoy, wanted by the British authorities on suspicion of the
murder of Mr Litvinenko. In common with Mr Lugovoy, a warrant has been issued for
his arrest. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to extradite both men to the UK.
6.27 Mr Kovtun did not initially show any interest in taking part in these proceedings (unlike
Mr Lugovoy, who was for a time represented as an interested person in the inquest).
The attempts made by the Inquiry to contact Mr Kovtun in Russia and to seek his
participation were met with silence. However, at the very end of the Inquiry’s open
hearings, Mr Kovtun wrote to the Solicitor to the Inquiry and said that he wished to
give evidence. In keeping with my desire for this Inquiry to be as full as possible,
arrangements were made to enable Mr Kovtun to give evidence. Closing submissions
were put back, further hearings were arranged and video link facilities in Moscow
were established. One of the requirements that I set for Mr Kovtun giving evidence
was that he provide the Inquiry with a detailed written witness statement. He complied
with this requirement. In the end, however, Mr Kovtun did not give oral evidence on
the days that had been set aside for this purpose. The events leading to Mr Kovtun’s
decision not to give evidence were complicated, and I do not propose to go into them
here. They are set out in observations that I made at the time.10
6.28 Although Mr Kovtun did not in the end give oral evidence and submit himself to
questioning, there is a range of evidence available to me about his background and
about his involvement in the events that led to Mr Litvinenko’s death. Mr Kovtun has
given his own account in a number of press interviews and also, as I have mentioned,
in the statement that he provided to the Inquiry. And there are also other witnesses
who have given evidence about Mr Kovtun.
6.29 Mr Kovtun was born in Moscow in 1965.11 I received evidence from a number of
sources that Mr Kovtun’s father, like Mr Lugovoy’s, had been a senior officer in the
Russian military, and that the two men had known each other as children as a result of
this connection. For example, in his June 2015 witness statement, Mr Kovtun stated:
“I have known A.K. Lugovoy since 1978 or 1979. We lived in the same building
where my family and his family were given flats at the same time. Our fathers were
friends and worked together at the Army General HQ of the USSR Armed Forces.
We were pupils at different schools – I am actually 1 year older than Lugovoy – but
we spent a great deal of time together as children, visited each other, exchanged
books, etc.” 12
6.30 Mr Kovtun’s statement goes on to assert that he attended the same military school as
Mr Lugovoy for several years. He left in 1986 and joined the Russian army. He was
posted first to Czechoslovakia and then to Parchim in what was then East Germany.
6.31 In 1991, while he was still posted in Parchim, Mr Kovtun married his first wife, who is
now called Inna Hohne. Ms Hohne lives in Germany and did not respond to requests
10

Chairman 32/4-19

Mr Kovtun states that he is one year older than Mr Lugovoy in his 2 June 2015 witness statement

INQ021208 (page 6). There is evidence that Mr Lugovoy was born in 1966.

12
INQ021208 (page 6)

11

113

The Litvinenko Inquiry

to give oral evidence to the Inquiry. I was able, however, to hear evidence about
information that she provided to the German police in the course of their criminal
investigations related to Mr Litvinenko’s death.
6.32 Ms Hohne explained during those interviews that only a few months after she and
Mr Kovtun had married, Mr Kovtun had discovered that his unit was being transferred
to Chechnya. Ms Hohne did not wish to leave Germany and Mr Kovtun did not wish to
leave her, or to go to fight in Chechnya. They therefore decided that Mr Kovtun would
desert from the army and that they would go to West Germany and claim asylum.
They implemented this plan in early 1992, secretly leaving the army base in Parchim
and travelling together to Hamburg, where they claimed asylum.13
6.33 It would appear that life in Hamburg was not all that Mr Kovtun and Ms Hohne had
hoped that it might be. Ms Hohne’s evidence was that they were accommodated in a
hostel for asylum seekers, and that shortly afterwards she and Mr Kovtun separated –
she told the German investigators that, “the reason amongst others was his escalating
drunkenness.”14
6.34 Mr Kovtun stayed in Hamburg and in 1994 met Marina Wall, whom he married in 1996. I
had available to me the transcripts of interviews that German investigators conducted
following Mr Litvinenko’s death with both Marina Wall and also with her mother, Dr
Elenora Wall. As in the case of Ms Hohne, neither Ms Wall nor her mother responded
to requests to appear before the Inquiry as a live witness (and, like Ms Hohne, I could
not compel them to do so because they are out of the jurisdiction), but I did adduce in
evidence the accounts that they had given when they were interviewed in Germany.
6.35 In the account that she gave to German investigators, Marina Wall described how
Mr Kovtun lived with her in Hamburg from the time of their marriage in 1996 until
he moved back to Moscow in 2003. She said that they had in fact separated in the
previous year; 2002.15 The evidence was that Mr Kovtun did not have any stable
employment during the entire ten years or so that he was in Hamburg. He lived off
social benefits, with occasional work as a waiter, washing dishes and as a refuse
collector.16 One of the restaurants where Mr Kovtun worked in Hamburg was called
Il Porto. As I shall come to describe, Mr Kovtun was in contact with some of the men
with whom he had worked at that restaurant in the days before he met Mr Litvinenko
in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel.
6.36 As I have mentioned, Inna Hohne and Marina Wall were interviewed by German
investigators in the aftermath of Mr Litvinenko’s death. By the time of the interviews,
media reports had already raised the possibility that Mr Kovtun, who was described
in some of the reports as a businessman in the oil and gas industry, may have had a
hand in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
6.37 The evidence that Mr Kovtun’s two former wives gave to the German investigators
about his character, and about his possible involvement in a murder, was remarkably
consistent.
6.38 However, if the evidence of Inna Hohne and Marina Wall about Mr Kovtun’s personality
was remarkably similar, there was a striking dissonance between, on the one hand,
13

Hohne 32/50-54; Marina Wall 32/56
Hohne 32/51
15
Marina Wall 32/55
16
Mascall 8/78
14

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

their joint evidence about him, and, on the other hand, the evidence – to which I shall
come – suggesting that by the latter part of 2006 Mr Kovtun was both a successful
businessman and a cold blooded killer. This was a tension that both women recognised.
6.39 The following passages are taken from Inna Hohne’s evidence:
“Dmitry wanted to be a porno star. He never said anything about any brokerage
deals or sales. I have now read his interview in Spiegel and have read that there
was trade in gas and oil. I can only say that this has absolutely nothing to do with
Dmitry.” 17
“Dmitry is not particularly down to earth, more a man about town. He had all sorts
of dreams and plans, none of which he realised, however.” 18
“He drank a lot, which was eventually the reason for our separation. ... I only lived
together with him for a very short time. I do not know a great deal about him. I
cannot imagine how Dmitry got involved in this affair. He is not really the type for
this, not the sort of person who does big deals or is suited in any way to this. I know
Dmitry really as not a particularly reliable person. That is all I can say about this” 19
6.40 Marina Wall said the following:
“Every woman finds Dmitry charming. It is just he does not fancy working and he
is not a family man. He is more of a man about town. That is why we were not
suited...” 20
“I looked on the internet and found out Litvinenko is supposed to have been
poisoned with thallium. I then read that Litvinenko had met two businessmen in a
hotel. They are said to have been Lugovoy and Dmitry. My first thought was that I
found this ridiculous and absurd. When I read that an agent was involved and then
my husband, I could never imagine that. I mainly took care of our living expenses
and dealt with all financial matters. He didn’t even have an account.” 21
When asked whether Mr Kovtun was skilled technically, for example with regard to
computers, Marina Wall stated:
“I had to do everything. I had to set up the letters on the computer. He was not able
to do this. Dmitry was no handyman. He could not even bang a nail into the wall.
Finally, I would like to say that it is beyond my power of imagination that Dmitry is
an agent or a member of the secret service. I really cannot believe that for the life
of me.” 22
6.41 Following the discovery of radioactive contamination in her flat, Marina Wall was also
asked whether she could, “conceive that Dmitry brought any dangerous substances
into your flat”, and gave a very clear answer:
“I really cannot imagine that he would put my children in danger. I am more inclined
to believe that he was already ill himself or didn’t know that.” 23
17

Mascall 8/75
Mascall 8/76
19
Mascall 8/77
20
Marina Wall 32/58
21
Marina Wall 32/63
22
Marina Wall 32/75
23
Marina Wall 32/66-67
18

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If Mr Kovtun was handling or carrying polonium 210 at around this time, it does not of
course follow that he knew precisely what the substance was, or about its qualities. It
may be that he had not been told. A similar question arises with regard to Mr Lugovoy.
I will return to this matter in due course.
6.42 The account given to German investigators by Marina Wall’s mother, Elenora Wall,
was to a similar effect. It appears that she remained close to Mr Kovtun after his return
to Moscow in 2003. She said that still in 2006, Mr Kovtun was:
“... always very modest. He only had a few clothes. Money and he did not go
together. That is how we know him... Dmitry is not the person who takes a step
forward in order to carry out big deals.” 24
She added:
“Dmitry is not a brutal person who kills people. No member of the KGB would have
put poison in Dmitry’s hands. He is a very soft person. He isn’t a businessman,
he is a philosopher. I do not believe that he knew when he visited us that he was
giving off radioactivity. He was just as he always was. He would not have come if
he had known that.” 25
6.43 Finally, Elenora Wall also said something about what Mr Kovtun told her when he had
become ill following Mr Litvinenko’s death. She said:
“He told me that he had probably got some of the poison which killed Litvinenko.
He said word for word, ‘Those arseholes have probably poisoned us all’.” 26
She added that he had not explained the identity of the “arseholes” to whom he had
referred.

24

Elenora Wall 32/77
Elenora Wall 32/79-80
26
Elenora Wall 32/81
25

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Chapter 4:

Visa applications

6.44 The first of the journeys to London with which this Part is concerned was that made
by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun between 16 and 18 October 2006. This was to be
Mr Kovtun’s first trip to the UK, and he therefore needed to apply for a visa. As I have
mentioned, Mr Lugovoy had made several visits to London in the preceding months
and years. As it happened, his previous UK visa had expired earlier in 2006 and he
applied for a further visa in May 2006.
6.45 Both Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun made their applications in writing to the British
Embassy in Moscow. The applications were considered by two different British entry
clearance officers posted to the Embassy. I heard oral evidence from both.

Visa application by Mr Lugovoy
6.46 Mr Lugovoy’s visa application form was dated 23 May 2006.27 Evidence about the
form (which was completed in Russian) and the procedure by which the application
was considered was given by Mr Nigel Moughton, who was at the time in question an
entry clearance officer at the British Embassy in Moscow.28
6.47 Mr Moughton explained that Mr Lugovoy’s application was for a tourist visa (section
5.3 of the form); the form further stated that Mr Lugovoy wished to travel to the UK
on 31 May for eight days. Evidence of the booking at the hotel in London at which
Mr Lugovoy intended to stay on this trip was attached to the form.
6.48 Mr Moughton gave evidence about the checks that would have been undertaken in
relation to the application after it had arrived at the Embassy. He said that Mr Lugovoy’s
name would have been checked against a ‘Warnings Index’ to make sure, as he put it,
“that the person is not of interest to a multitude of government agencies”.29 This check
was completed on this occasion, and the result recorded was that Mr Lugovoy had
‘No Trace’ on the Warnings Index.
6.49 Mr Moughton stated that the form was then subject to a number of further checks
by local staff. It was at this stage that a query was raised by an entry clearance
officer other than Mr Moughton in respect of Mr Lugovoy’s application, namely that
Mr Lugovoy had travelled on eight occasions under his previous six month visa.
Mr Moughton explained that he had not been involved at this stage; his understanding
was that the volume of Mr Lugovoy’s previous travel was considered to be unusual
and to require an explanation.
6.50 Mr Lugovoy was accordingly telephoned and asked why he had used his last visa
eight times, and what he had been doing in the UK on those occasions. There is a
manuscript note of the telephone conversation.30 Mr Lugovoy is recorded as saying
that:
“he has travelled to the UK purely for holidays because he has friends there
(Aleksander Litvinenko) and he likes the UK. He travelled either alone or with his
wife.”
27

INQ006201
Moughton 8/94-116
29
Moughton 8/102
30
INQ006201 (page 15)
28

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6.51 Mr Moughton’s evidence was that this manuscript note would have been passed back
to the entry clearance officer then considering the application. It would appear that the
explanation did not entirely satisfy that official, since Mr Lugovoy was then asked to
attend for interview.
6.52 The interview took place on 6 June 2006. Mr Moughton was one of those assigned
to conduct interviews that day, and he interviewed Mr Lugovoy, with the assistance of
an interpreter. The interview was short and there is a transcript amongst the papers
attached to the application form. Mr Lugovoy confirmed the accuracy of the form.
Mr Moughton asked him again what he had been doing on his eight visits to the UK
in the previous six months and Mr Lugovoy’s answer is recorded as “Travel holiday”.
6.53 Mr Moughton saw no reason to refuse Mr Lugovoy’s application and therefore granted
him a further six month visa. It was this visa that Mr Lugovoy used on his visits to the
UK in October and November 2006.
6.54 There are a few short points to be made about this episode.
6.55 First, Mr Lugovoy gave Mr Litvinenko’s name as a contact in the UK and this was
recorded on the papers. From this time if not from earlier, there was express evidence
of a link between the two men.
6.56 Second, Mr Lugovoy was recorded as a ‘No Trace’ on the Warnings Index
notwithstanding his previous employment in the Committee for State Security (KGB)
and in the Federal Protection Service (FPS). Mr Moughton made it clear that, had he
known of these matters, they might have influenced the questions that he asked at
interview.31
6.57 These points might have been relevant to the issue of preventability – i.e. whether
UK authorities might have done more to protect Mr Litvinenko’s safety. However,
that issue was expressly excluded from the Terms of Reference (see Appendix 2)
as a consequence of my ruling of 17 May 2013 given in the course of the inquest
proceedings to the effect that there was no material within the documents that I had
then considered to suggest that at any material time Mr Litvinenko was or ought to
have been assessed by the UK authorities as being at a real and immediate threat to
his life.

Visa application by Mr Kovtun
6.58 Mr Kovtun’s application for a UK visa was dated 2 October 2006.32
6.59 The official at the British Embassy in Moscow who considered Mr Kovtun’s application
was Mr Fitzgerald. I heard oral evidence from him,33 and have also admitted into
evidence a statement that he gave to the Metropolitan Police Service.34
6.60 In contrast to the procedure that had been followed regarding Mr Lugovoy’s visa
application earlier in the year, Mr Fitzgerald saw no need to interview Mr Kovtun.
His evidence was that he granted the visa on the day that the application form was
received at the Embassy – 5 October 2006.
31

Moughton 8/115-116
INQ006218
33
Fitzgerald 8/116-123
34
INQ002858
32

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.61 In further contrast to Mr Lugovoy’s application, Mr Kovtun applied for a business
visa. Mr Kovtun described himself in his application form as the general director of
a Russian company named Global Project Ltd and asserted that he had a monthly
income of 65,000 roubles. He named a British company called Continental Petroleum
Ltd (CPL) as his contact in the UK, and attached to his form a letter from the Chairman
of CPL, named Mr Balfour, which was addressed to the British Embassy in Moscow.35
In his letter Mr Balfour requested that Mr Kovtun be granted an entry visa. The letter
confirmed that Global Project Ltd had been founded in 2003 and that Mr Kovtun
had been general director of the company since 5 December 2003. It added that,
“the company provides consulting services in development of Russian oil and gas
markets.”
6.62 The contents of Mr Kovtun’s visa application form and the letter from Mr Balfour
raise for the first time a number of related issues concerning Mr Kovtun. Was his
supposed successful business career in Russia genuine? Did he work with CPL?
Did he have genuine business reasons for travelling to London in October and early
November 2006?
6.63 I heard evidence from a number of witnesses on these matters which I will detail in
due course. It may, however, assist if at this stage I identify the issues in a little more
detail and give some preliminary views in relation to them:
a. There is no evidence, other than that emanating from Mr Lugovoy and from
Mr Kovtun himself, that Mr Kovtun was a wealthy and successful businessman in
2006. As I have explained in some detail above, at paragraphs 6.35 – 6.40, the
evidence of Inna Hohne and of Marina and Elenora Wall was strongly inconsistent
with such a suggestion. Further, as we shall see, it is a striking feature of the
evidence relating to his activities in October and November 2006 that Mr Kovtun
did not appear to live the lifestyle of a rich businessman. He did not pay for drinks
or meals in London, and the evidence is that he had to ask his ex-wife’s boyfriend
to pay for his flight from Hamburg to London because he did not have a credit
card
b. There is, on the other hand, plenty of evidence to demonstrate the existence
of a business relationship between CPL and Mr Lugovoy. Witnesses such as
Dr Shadrin and Mr Voronoff, to whom I shall return, attested to this
c. It was also apparent from the evidence of these and other witnesses that
Mr Lugovoy drew Mr Kovtun into his work with CPL. I shall return to the detail of
this evidence in due course
d. Perhaps the most important issue in this regard is whether Mr Kovtun’s business
dealings with CPL (or for that matter any other companies) provide a sufficient
explanation for his two trips to London in October and November 2006. On
this issue, as we shall see, there are discrepancies between the evidence of
Mr Kovtun on the one hand and Dr Shadrin on the other
6.64 Another notable feature of Mr Kovtun’s visa application was its timing in relation to
other events. As Mr Horwell QC observed in his closing submissions,36 it is striking that
the bookings for Mr Lugovoy’s and Mr Kovtun’s flights to London on 16 October and
the bookings for their hotel rooms on that trip were made a few days after Mr Kovtun’s
35
36

INQ006218 (page 15)
Horwell 33/24

119

The Litvinenko Inquiry

visa was issued on 5 October.37 It would appear to be a reasonable inference from
this sequence, as Mr Horwell suggested, that Mr Kovtun’s presence on the trip was
deemed essential, or at least very important. The question that I will need to address
is why Mr Kovtun’s presence on this trip was apparently considered to be so desirable.
Was it, as his visa application form asserted, for business reasons? Or were there
other reasons for Mr Kovtun accompanying Mr Lugovoy to London?

37

The hotel bookings were made on 7 October (Krgo 9/51-52) and the flight bookings were made on 9
October; Mascall 9/4-5; COM00199001 (pages 4-5)

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Chapter 5:

Events in London 16-18 October

6.65 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun flew from Moscow to London Gatwick on the morning
of Monday 16 October 2006. They stayed for two nights, returning to Moscow on
Wednesday 18 October. The two men attended business meetings with Mr Litvinenko
during the day on both 16 and 17 October, and went out with him for dinner on the
evening of 17 October. For Mr Lugovoy, this was the latest in a series of visits to
London during which he met Mr Litvinenko. For Mr Kovtun, by contrast, this was his
first trip to London and also the first time he had met Mr Litvinenko.
6.66 Monday 16 October 2006 was just over a week after Anna Politkovskaya had been
murdered in Moscow, on Saturday 7 October. The day on which Mr Litvinenko had
attended his citizenship ceremony, and then gone on to the memorial service for
Ms Politkovskaya, had been at the end of the previous week – Friday 13 October.

Arrival in London
6.67 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun flew into Gatwick on the morning of 16 October aboard
Transaero flight UN333. The flight arrived at 10.48am. The registration number of the
aircraft that made the flight that morning was EI-DDK.
6.68 In contrast to all bar one of the other aircraft on which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
flew during this period, EI-DDK was never tested for radiation by the UK authorities.
I heard detailed evidence as to the reasons for this. Put very shortly, a request was
made by the Metropolitan Police Service to test the aircraft. The aircraft was not made
available and the police believed that the request had been deliberately frustrated by
the Russian authorities. At the same time, the Russian authorities announced that
they had tested the plane and found it free of contamination, although considerable
doubt was subsequently cast on those results.
6.69 These events took place in early December 2006, at the very start of the police
investigation. They involved a number of different parties, both in the UK and in
Russia. DI Mascall gave evidence about these matters.38 In summary:
a. The Metropolitan Police Service decided on 30 November 2006 that both the
plane on which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had flown to London on 16 October
(EI-DDK) and the plane on which they had returned to Moscow on 18 October
(EI-DNM) should be tested for contamination. Both aircraft were operated by the
Russian airline Transaero
b. On 1 December 2006, an official at the British Embassy in Moscow named
Mr Knott notified both the Russian authorities and Transaero of the concern as
to possible contamination of the aircraft, and of the advice that they should be
tested before they next flew39
c. On the same day, Mr Knott was informed both by officials in the office of
Mr Gennadiy Onishchenko, the then Russian Chief Public Health Officer, and
by Mr Alexander Tarrenets, the Deputy Director of Security for Transaero, that

38
39

Mascall 9/4-37
Mascall 9/9-10

121

The Litvinenko Inquiry

both planes had in fact already been tested and that no contamination had been
found40
d.

In fact, aircraft EI-DNM flew into Heathrow on that day, 1 December 2006, and
was tested for contamination by AWE scientists. They discovered secondary
alpha radiation contamination in the area of the seats on which Mr Kovtun and
Mr Lugovoy had sat on the flight on 18 October41

e.

These findings were, clearly, in complete contrast to the communications that
were being received on the same day both from the airline and from the Russian
government to the effect that EI-DNM had been checked and was free of
contamination

f.

EI-DDK was in fact scheduled to fly to London on the next day, 2 December.
That flight, however, was cancelled. Transaero explained at the time that the
cancellation was due to disruption to their scheduling caused by the testing of
EI-DNM in London42

g.

It appears that EI-DDK did not in fact return to the UK for some time after that,
and that it was never tested by UK authorities43

Some seven years later, in 2013, the Investigative Committee of the Russian
Federation (ICRF) made a disclosure of documents to me in what were then the inquest
proceedings into Mr Litvinenko’s death. The documents purported to be records of the
testing of both aircraft in Russia.44 DI Mascall stated in evidence that these documents
had never been formally provided to the Metropolitan Police Service, and that he saw
them for the first time in 2013.45 Although the effect of these documents is not entirely
clear, they appear to indicate that the original Russian tests did reveal contamination
on EI-DNM, but did not reveal any contamination on EI-DDK. If that is the effect of
these documents, it is quite obviously inconsistent with what Mr Knott was told both
by the Russian government and by Transaero in 2006.
6.70 In summary, there is an inconsistency between the assertion made by the Russian
authorities on 1 December 2006 that both planes had been tested and found to be
clean, and the documents received in 2013 suggesting that the results of the Russian
testing of one of the planes had been positive. There is also a conflict between the
initial assertion by the Russians that EI-DNM was not contaminated, and the outcome
of the tests conducted on that aircraft by AWE. Moreover, the delay of seven years in
the production of the Russian test results remains unexplained. In the circumstances,
I do not consider that any weight can be placed on what the Russian authorities have
said about the testing of either of these aircraft, in particular the assertion that EI-DDK
was tested and found to be clean.
6.71 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were transported from their aircraft to the terminal building
by an airport bus. The bus that carried them was subsequently identified and tested,
with no trace of contamination being found. There was evidence that the bus was
regularly cleaned.46 For the reasons that I have explained above, (in paragraphs
40

Mascall 9/11-12; 9/18-20; INQ019202
Mascall 9/35-37
42
Mascall 9/22
43
Mascall 9/27
44
COM00046001; COM00198001
45
Mascall 9/27-28
46
Mascall 9/65-66; 9/126
41

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.21 – 6.24), in general terms I do not regard ‘negative’ evidence on this type of
vehicle to be of any significance one way or the other.
6.72 On their arrival in the terminal building that morning, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were
stopped and questioned by a policeman named Detective Constable (DC) Scott, who
gave oral evidence at the Inquiry.
6.73 DC Scott explained that he did not have any prior intelligence relating to either
Mr Lugovoy or Mr Kovtun. He stopped them simply because he thought they might be
of interest.47 DC Scott’s file contained a photograph of the two men taken when they
were stopped, timed at 11.34am.48
6.74 DC Scott examined the two men’s travel documentation and asked about the purpose
of their trip to the UK. He said that Mr Kovtun did not appear to be able to speak
English, but that Mr Lugovoy could and answered the questions on behalf of them
both. The men said that they were travelling for business. They gave a name that
DC Scott wrote down as Mr ‘Shadray’, but which must have been a reference to
Dr Shadrin. They also gave a phone number which DC Scott called – it was the offices
at 58 Grosvenor Street of Dr Shadrin’s two companies, Continental Petroleum Limited
and ECO3 Capital Limited. DC Scott was told by someone there that Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun were visiting ECO3 Capital.
6.75 It appeared from his evidence that DC Scott was uneasy about Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun. He explained that the two men:
“were very evasive as to why they were coming to the UK… as I asked them
questions, they weren’t coming out with the answers that I wanted to hear or
expected to hear. They were giving me very, very short answers, so there was no
information in those answers.” 49
6.76 Ultimately, however, once he had telephoned Dr Shadrin’s offices and completed his
standard checks, DC Scott considered that he had no power to hold the two men any
longer and therefore let them proceed.
6.77 DC Scott estimated that the two men left him at about 11.50am.50 It seems likely
that they in fact left him a few minutes earlier, since the telephone schedule records
Mr Lugovoy making calls on his mobile phone to Dr Shadrin and then to Mr Litvinenko
at 11.45am and 11.46am respectively.51
6.78 As we shall see, later on the same day Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun met Mr Litvinenko
and together attended a meeting with Mr Reilly. It seems reasonable to assume that
Mr Lugovoy’s brief call to Mr Litvinenko at 11.46 that morning was about that meeting,
particularly since the records show that Mr Litvinenko called Mr Reilly a few minutes
later.52
6.79 The meeting with Mr Reilly was to take place at 3.00pm. Prior to that, Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun travelled into London and booked in at their hotel, the Best Western in
Shaftesbury Avenue.
47

Scott 9/39
INQ013787 (page 4)
49
Scott 9/43-44
50
Scott 9/47
51
INQ017809 (page 58)
52
Reilly 10/83
48

123

The Litvinenko Inquiry

6.80 DI Mascall explained that, despite extensive enquiries, the police had been unable to
establish the means by which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun travelled from Gatwick to
central London on 16 October.53 It seems reasonable to assume, however, that the
journey would have taken approximately an hour.
6.81 I heard evidence from Mr Krgo, who in 2006 was the House Manager of the Best
Western Hotel in Shaftesbury Avenue. He said that he remembered “quite vividly”
meeting Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun on their arrival at the hotel on 16 October.54
6.82 Mr Krgo’s evidence was that the two men arrived at the hotel at between 9.00 and
9.30 in the morning. He thought that these timings had come from timed images
from the hotel’s CCTV that he had viewed with the police.55 I think that Mr Krgo was
mistaken on both counts. There is clear evidence, as set out above, that Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun’s flight was still in the air at 9.30am, and that they were still at Gatwick
at 11.30am. Moreover, DI Mascall confirmed that, although the police did review the
hotel CCTV system with Mr Krgo during their enquiries, the review established that
the images for 16 October had already been automatically deleted by that time, so no
footage of that day was ever seized.56
6.83 Mr Krgo also gave evidence that, following their arrival at the hotel, Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun completed registration slips and a credit card was pre-authorised to cover
any incidental costs. The credit card slip showed that that process had taken place
at 12.51pm.57 Although Mr Krgo thought that the credit card had been pre-authorised
some time after their first arrival at the hotel, in light of the known timings set out
above, I think it most likely that this process was in fact undertaken on their arrival, and
therefore that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun arrived at the hotel shortly before 12.51pm.
6.84 Leaving timings to one side, Mr Krgo was confident as to the sequence of events
following the arrival of the two men. When they first arrived, neither of their rooms was
ready. They left their luggage in the storage room and left the hotel for an hour or so,
apparently to go to a nearby café that Mr Krgo had recommended. When they returned
one of their rooms was ready. That was number 107, which was Mr Lugovoy’s room.
The two men then took their luggage up to that room, and got changed. They came
down again about half an hour later and left the hotel. Mr Krgo did not see them again
that day and it therefore seems likely that at this point they went to the meeting with
Mr Litvinenko and Mr Reilly.58
6.85 Before turning to that meeting, it is necessary to address a submission that
Mr Emmerson QC made in the course of his closing submissions. The general
submission related to Russian State responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death and the
source of the polonium apparently used to poison him. Those are matters to which I
shall turn in due course. However, in developing this submission Mr Emmerson made
a factual point that is relevant to this stage of the narrative. Put shortly, he contended
that, on the assumption that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had attempted to poison
Mr Litvinenko with polonium during the 16 October meeting with Mr Reilly, they must
have brought the polonium with them from Russia, since they had no opportunity to
acquire it from any other source between the time that they arrived on that day at
53

Mascall 9/127-128
Krgo 9/49
55
Krgo 9/53
56
Mascall 9/96-97
57
Krgo 9/57
58
Krgo 9/54-60
54

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Gatwick and the time of the meeting that afternoon. I make it clear that that narrow
factual proposition is one that I am not able to accept. The evidence of Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun’s movements during this period is in fact fairly sketchy. As I have said,
there is no evidence of how they travelled from Gatwick to central London, or where
they may have gone or who they may have met on the way. There is no evidence as
to whether they in fact went to Mr Krgo’s café, or somewhere else entirely, after their
first arrival at the hotel. And there is no detailed evidence of how they travelled from
the hotel to Mr Reilly’s offices.
6.86 There is of course no positive evidence that Mr Lugovoy or Mr Kovtun acquired any
polonium 210 in London that morning. But the difficulty is that there is in fact only
limited evidence as to what they did, where they went and whom they met in the hours
following their arrival. In those circumstances, I cannot exclude, as Mr Emmerson’s
submission invites me to do, the possibility that they obtained polonium 210 from
some source in London between the time of their arrival at Gatwick and the meeting
with Mr Reilly later that day.

Meeting with Tim Reilly
6.87 At some point during the afternoon of 16 October 2006, a meeting took place between
Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun, Mr Litvinenko and Mr Reilly. The meeting was held at
Mr Reilly’s offices at 25 Grosvenor Street, London.
6.88 Mr Litvinenko travelled into central London by bus that day. The bus on which he
travelled was subsequently identified and tested, with no contamination being found.59
6.89 I have said a little about Mr Reilly and his relationship with Mr Litvinenko at paragraphs
4.130 – 4.133 above. I also described how Mr Litvinenko introduced Mr Lugovoy to
Mr Reilly as a contact who might be able to assist Erinys in securing business with
Gazprom, and how the three men first met in June or July 2006.
6.90 Mr Reilly gave detailed evidence about the meeting on 16 October.60 The basic facts
can be stated fairly shortly:
a. It seems likely that the meeting had been pre-arranged, either earlier that morning
or, more probably, before that61
b. There was some uncertainty about the precise timing of the meeting. Mr Reilly
said that it was a morning meeting,62 but that cannot be right. There is clear
evidence that Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko went to the Piccadilly
itsu after the meeting, and that they were there at about 4.20pm (see below).
Mr Reilly said that the meeting took less than an hour.63 It would seem, therefore,
that the meeting started at about 3.00pm
c. The meeting took place in the boardroom of Mr Reilly’s offices

59

Mascall 9/83-86; 9/89-90. See paragraphs 6.21-6.24 above for discussion regarding the value of such
findings.
60
Reilly 10/80-119
61
Reilly 10/80; 10/83-84
62
Reilly 10/83
63
Reilly 10/95

125

The Litvinenko Inquiry

d.

The purpose of the meeting was for Mr Reilly to discuss with Mr Lugovoy Erinys’
proposed business with Gazprom64

e.

Mr Kovtun played no part in the discussions. Mr Reilly described him as, “a guy
who was just watching me” 65

6.91 There are two other factual details about this meeting that are of some importance.
6.92 The first relates to the seating arrangements around the boardroom table. Mr Reilly
was very confident in his evidence as to where each of the four men had sat at the
meeting. He explained that he had wanted to sit facing Mr Lugovoy since he regarded
him as “the most critical person” at the meeting. He therefore sat facing Mr Lugovoy at
one end of the table. He placed Mr Litvinenko between them at the head of the table
and Mr Kovtun, whom he regarded as the least important person at the meeting, next
to Mr Lugovoy.66 Mr Reilly provided the police with a marked plan of the room showing
where each of the attendees sat.67 It is reproduced below. Mr Reilly explained in the
section of his oral evidence to which I have already referred that he sat at position ‘A’,
Mr Litvinenko at ‘B’, Mr Lugovoy at ‘C’ and Mr Kovtun at ‘D’.

64

Reilly 10/84; 10/107-110
Reilly 10/108
66
Reilly 10/85-86
67
INQ018987 (page 2)
65

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Mr Reilly’s plan of the Erinys boardroom68

68

INQ018987 (page 2)

127

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Police photograph of the Erinys boardroom69

6.93 The second point concerns the refreshments provided at the meeting. Mr Reilly’s
evidence was that he himself did not drink anything at the meeting, but that he provided
each of the other three with either tea or coffee. He said that he also offered them a
drink of water from the office water fountain, but they all refused.70
6.94 However, the most important evidence relating to this meeting is the evidence of
polonium contamination of the boardroom that was discovered after Mr Litvinenko’s
death. Extensive contamination was discovered, in particular on two of the chairs and
on a section of the green baize that covered the boardroom table. The contamination
was described in evidence by DI Mascall,71 and is shown in diagrammatic form in a
computer aided model of the room prepared by the Metropolitan Police Service,72
which is reproduced below.

69

INQ017922 (page 3)
Reilly 10/92; 10/100
71
Mascall 9/97-101
72
INQ017922 (page 3)
70

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Contamination levels in the Erinys boardroom73

73

INQ017922 (page 3)

129

The Litvinenko Inquiry

6.95 The room was first tested on 25 November 2006, more than a month after the meeting
had taken place. Unsurprisingly, Mr Reilly’s evidence was that the chairs in the room
could have been moved during the intervening period.74 But the same was not true of
the green baize cloth on the table. Mr Reilly said that John Holmes (who, as I have
described above, ran both Erinys and Titon International) was always insistent that
the baize should not be removed from the table.75 There was, therefore, no reason
to think that the baize had been moved between mid October when the meeting took
place and late November when the room was tested.
6.96 That is a highly significant consideration. As is apparent from the plan, the highest
level of contamination found in the room was on a patch of the green baize at one end
of the table (shown in purple in the plan). Comparison with Mr Reilly’s plan shows that
this area was located between the positions in which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Litvinenko
were sitting.
6.97 A1’s evidence about the contamination in the Erinys boardroom was that the small
‘purple’ patch of contamination on the baize cloth represented primary contamination.
In other words, as I have said, the reading was so high that it must have been caused
by a primary source of polonium being exposed to the environment in that area. She
said the scientific evidence provided strong support for this conclusion. Her view was
that the rest of the contamination in the room was secondary contamination.76
6.98 Mr Reilly told me that the meeting on 16 October was probably the last time that he
saw Mr Litvinenko. Although Mr Reilly thought that he might have met Mr Lugovoy
and/or Mr Kovtun again before Mr Litvinenko’s death (there is no other evidence of
any such meetings),77 he was clear that Mr Litvinenko was not present at any such
meetings.78
6.99 Mr Reilly referred in the course of his evidence to radiation testing that was undertaken
at his house.79 The contamination schedule indicates that secondary contamination
was found on some of Mr Reilly’s clothing, and also on the steering wheel of his
car.80 Mr Reilly also mentioned that he had a sudden illness on 26 October 2006, with
symptoms of migraine and sickness.81 I am not in a position to make any findings as
to whether this illness was caused in any way by the contamination that had been left
in the Erinys boardroom.
6.100 There is one further matter that I should mention before leaving this subject. Both
Mr Holmes and Mr Attew gave evidence that there had been a break in at the offices
at 25 Grosvenor Street in mid June 2006.82 Considerable force was used to gain
entrance to the offices, but nothing was taken. Both men thought, with hindsight, that
the break in may have been linked to Mr Litvinenko’s case. Mr Attew said, “In my
business, that’s a reconnaissance”.

74

Reilly 10/90
Reilly 10/105-106
76
A1 20/27-31
77
Mascall 29/73-75
78
Reilly 10/117-123
79
Reilly 10/145-146
80
INQ017934 (pages 36-38)
81
Reilly 10/119-121
82
Holmes 7/68-70; Attew 13/67-70
75

130

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

itsu
6.101 The evidence before me was that, following the meeting with Mr Reilly, Mr Lugovoy,
Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko went together to the itsu restaurant on Piccadilly.
Mr Lugovoy made a purchase on his credit card there that afternoon that was timed
at 4.22pm.83 There was no direct evidence as to where they sat on that occasion,
but secondary contamination was found at one of the tables. Importantly, the table
at which the secondary contamination was found was not that at which (according to
the evidence of Mr Scaramella) Mr Litvinenko sat with Mr Scaramella on 1 November
2006.84 Given the primary contamination at the Erinys boardroom, it is a reasonable
inference that the secondary contamination found at itsu was left by Mr Lugovoy,
Mr Kovtun and/or Mr Litvinenko at the time of their visit on 16 October.

The evening of 16 October
6.102 When they left itsu, the three men split up. Mr Litvinenko travelled back to his home
in Muswell Hill. The bus on which he travelled was subsequently tested and found to
be free of contamination.85 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun remained in central London.
6.103 When she gave oral evidence, Marina Litvinenko told me about her recollection of that
evening.86 She said that it was a “normal, very peaceful evening”. Marina Litvinenko
had prepared spicy chicken soup for dinner. Mr Litvinenko liked hot food, and he ate
the soup with some hot peppers. She said that he often added hot spices to his food.
Some time after the meal, Mr Litvinenko suddenly began to feel ill. He vomited. She
said that Mr Litvinenko continued to feel unwell for the next two days.
6.104 When interviewed by police in hospital, Mr Litvinenko had himself referred to an
incident “two or three weeks” before he went into hospital when he had vomited. He
said that at the time he had assumed it was food poisoning.87
6.105 In the witness statement that he provided to the Inquiry dated 2 June 2015, Mr Kovtun
suggested that Mr Litvinenko’s illness had in fact pre-dated 16 October. He stated that
Mr Litvinenko had told him whilst they were at itsu on that day that: “he would not be
eating with us because he had been poisoned the previous day and had spent the
entire night vomiting so much that he had had to call a doctor.” 88 It should be noted
that Mr Kovtun said something similar to this in an interview that he gave to Der
Spiegel in late 2006.89 On the other hand, Marina Litvinenko’s evidence – which she
emphasised in a further statement served in rebuttal of Mr Kovtun’s statement90 –
was that Mr Litvinenko had not been ill prior to 16 October. She said that she was
certain that this episode of sickness had not taken place on Sunday 15 October, and
she was equally certain that neither she nor anyone else had called a doctor on this
occasion. There is certainly no other evidence (for example from General Practitioner
(GP) records or the account of Mr Prikazchikov) that a doctor was called at this time.
83

Mascall 9/101
Mascall 9/109-111
85
Mascall 9/112-113; 9/124. See paragraphs 6.21-6.24 above for discussion regarding the value of such
findings.
86
Marina Litvinenko 4/35-37
87
INQ016642 (page 4)
88
INQ021208 (page 3)
89
INQ012404
90
INQ022370
84

131

The Litvinenko Inquiry

These are matters that would obviously have been explored with Mr Kovtun had he
given oral evidence.
6.106 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun spent the evening having dinner with Dr Shadrin at the
Pescatori restaurant in Dover Street. Mr Lugovoy’s credit card was used to pay the
bill at the restaurant at 10.39pm that evening. The reservation book at the restaurant
shows that the three men sat at table 17.91
6.107 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun then went on to a bar near the Best Western Hotel named
Dar Marrakesh, where a bill was paid with the same credit card at 11.05pm. The bill
was for £9.00, which appeared to reflect the purchase of a shisha pipe.
6.108 The Pescatori restaurant and Dar Marrakesh were both found to have secondary
contamination. At the Pescatori, the table with the highest level of contamination was
table 17.92 At Dar Marrakesh, one of the shisha pipes was found to be contaminated.93
6.109 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun spent the night at the Best Western Hotel. As I have
already said, Mr Lugovoy had room 107. Mr Kovtun’s room, which had not been
available earlier, was room 308. As we shall see, this was in fact the only night that
the two men spent at the Best Western Hotel.
6.110 Both rooms were subsequently tested and were found to contain extensive
contamination.94 Room 107 was more heavily contaminated than room 308. A1 gave
her opinion as to the interpretation of the readings taken in these two rooms.95 She
said that the most significant result of this testing was the discovery of what she judged
to be primary contamination in the u-bend of the sink in the bathroom of room 107.
She explained that the scientists had opened the u-bend and found the contamination
on detritus such as hair, etc. caught in the u-bend. The testing of the room had taken
place on 22 December – more than two months after Mr Lugovoy had stayed in it. A1
said that the repeated use of the sink that would have taken place during that period
explained the fact that relatively low readings were taken in the area of the sink itself –
from where the polonium would have been washed away – in contrast to the sediment
in the u-bend, where the polonium would have been caught. She added that even in
the u-bend the initial levels of contamination may have been considerably higher. In
a nutshell, A1’s view was that the contamination in the u-bend was consistent with
polonium being poured down the sink plughole.
6.111 There are three observations that I would make about these findings at this stage:
a. First, and perhaps obviously, the coincidence of primary contamination being
found both on the boardroom table at the Erinys offices where Mr Lugovoy sat
at a meeting on 16 October and also in the bathroom of the hotel room that he
occupied that day is very striking
b. Second, although there is no direct evidence as to precisely how the polonium
came to be in the u-bend in room 107, the inference can be drawn that it was
poured down the sink by Mr Lugovoy and/or Mr Kovtun either in the act of
preparing a solution to be used in an attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko at the
Erinys meeting, or in disposing of the remainder of the solution later in the day. I
91

Mascall 17/79-80
Mascall 17/80-81
93
Mascall 9/115-116; 11/124-125
94
Mascall 9/67-78
95
A1 20/16-26; 20/97-98
92

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will assess the strength of that inference in due course, by reference to the totality
of the evidence
c. Third, it is to be noted in particular in this regard (i) that no similar primary
contamination was found in any of the waste pipes of the bathroom in room 848
of the Sheraton Hotel, where Mr Lugovoy stayed on the nights of 25-27 October;
and (ii) that a similar deposit of primary contamination was found in the u-bend
of the sink in room 382 of the Millennium Hotel, where Mr Kovtun stayed on
1 November 2006

Moving hotel
6.112 On the following day, Tuesday 17 October 2006, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun moved
from the Best Western Hotel to the Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge. They stayed at the
Parkes Hotel on the night of 17 October before, as we shall see, flying back to Moscow
on Wednesday 18 October. The rooms at the Best Western had been booked for both
nights. Why they moved remains unclear. What the evidence does show is as follows:
a. As I have described above, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun arrived at and checked
into the Best Western Hotel at about 12.51pm on 16 October. They were given
access to one of their rooms – room 107 – an hour or so later before they left for
the meeting with Mr Reilly at Erinys
b. At 3.07pm on the same day – i.e. at about the time of the meeting at Erinys – rooms
were booked by email for Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun at the Parkes Hotel for the
next night, 17 October. DI Mascall’s evidence was that these bookings, unlike the
earlier bookings, were made by Mr Lugovoy’s daughter, Tatiana Lugovoya96
c. Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun checked out of the Best Western Hotel at about
1.30pm on 17 October. They told the receptionist simply that they were leaving a
day early. They did not ask for a refund97
d. The two men checked into the Parkes Hotel at about 2.00pm on the same day.
They were greeted by the Front of House Manager at the hotel, Giuliana Rondoni,
from whom I heard evidence. Ms Rondoni recalled that they had told her that they
had come from another hotel in Piccadilly that was overbooked98
6.113 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun stayed, respectively, in rooms 23 and 25 at the Parkes
Hotel.99 Secondary contamination was found in both rooms.100

Meetings with Dr Shadrin
6.114 Later on 17 October, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had a meeting with Dr Shadrin in the
CPL offices at 58 Grosvenor Street. As I have already mentioned, they had had dinner
with him the night before. The Visitors’ Book held at the entrance to the building101
indicates that the two men arrived at 3.00pm and left at 5.30pm on 17 October. The
entries in the book also indicate that the two men had visited the building the day
96

Mascall 9/120-121
Krgo 9/60-62
98
Rondoni 10/189-190
99
Mascall 9/121-122
100
Mascall 9/124-125
101
INQ006389
97

133

The Litvinenko Inquiry

before, and Dr Shadrin’s evidence was that they may have had a meeting there prior
to going out to dinner at the Pescatori restaurant.
6.115 Dr Shadrin gave detailed oral evidence to the Inquiry about his relationship with
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun and the various meetings that he had with them in
London during this period.102 I also received oral evidence on this topic from several
of Dr Shadrin’s colleagues – Nikolay Gorokov,103 Dariya Davison104 and Vladimir
Voronoff.105 The witness statement served by Mr Kovtun dated 2 June 2015106
addresses the business dealings that he and Mr Lugovoy had with these individuals.
6.116 As I have indicated above, there is a good deal of uncontroversial evidence regarding
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun’s dealings with CPL. In the course of his oral evidence,
Dr Shadrin explained in great detail how in 2005 CPL had obtained oil and gas
exploration licences over blocks of land in Western Siberia. The licences had been
purchased by raising funding in the London market. He went on to describe how the
exploitation of these licences was subsequently put at risk by the actions of a group
in Russia whom he variously described as ‘criminals’ and ‘raiders’.
6.117 In summary, Dr Shadrin’s evidence was that this group, which was apparently led
by a man named Mr Livshitz, attempted to cut CPL out of the exploration of the
blocks of land by forging rival licences and bribing government officials. According
to Dr Shadrin, CPL took two courses of action in response to this attack. The first
(which was Dr Shadrin’s preferred course) was to challenge the forged licences in
the Russian courts. The second, which Dr Shadrin said was insisted upon by the
investors and by the CPL Chairman Mr Balfour, was to investigate and to attempt to
put pressure on Mr Livshitz and his group. This led to the introduction of Mr Voronoff
to the company. He, in turn, suggested that Mr Lugovoy and his company Ninth Wave
should be instructed to assist. Mr Lugovoy appointed Mr Kovtun as Project Manager.
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were tasked with preparing a report on the Livshitz group.
6.118 This general outline appears to me to be an uncontentious summary of the evidence
of the various witnesses. What is of particular significance for present purposes is the
stage that these matters had reached by the autumn of 2006.
6.119 Dr Shadrin’s evidence was that the difficulties with the Livshitz group had been largely
resolved by the summer of 2006.
6.120 CPL had been successful in the domestic legal challenges that it pursued in Russia,
both before the Arbitrazh Court and then the Court of Appeal. Following the decision of
the Court of Appeal, the Ministry for Natural Resources had reissued CPL’s licences.
All this had taken place by June 2006.107
6.121 With regard to CPL’s other line of attack, Dr Shadrin stated that Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun had prepared and submitted their report by the end of July 2006, prior to
which he had held two or three meetings with them in Moscow. He described their
report in the following terms:

102

Shadrin 14/137-218
Gorokov 13/142-155
104
Davison 14/114-136
105
Voronoff 14/2-114
106
INQ021208
107
Shadrin 14/152-153
103

134

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

“Basically, they prepared a report on the group who was trying to take over our
assets illegally. They identified two people from – one from police department and
another from the prosecution office who were providing protection to this group,
and also they identified their high profile connections as well.
They submitted this report, and that was the only result of their work on the
project.” 108
Dr Shadrin thought that Mr Lugovoy’s bill for preparing the report had been paid by
July 2006.109
6.122 This outline raises a question as to the subject matter of the meetings that Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun had with Dr Shadrin in the autumn of 2006. If the Livshitz affair had
effectively been concluded, what were they discussing?
6.123 Dr Shadrin was asked about this when he gave evidence. Putting the matter shortly,
his response was that by the autumn of 2006 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were
pitching for new business. He recalled the letter of introduction being provided to
support Mr Kovtun’s visa application, and said that Mr Balfour had provided the letter
to facilitate discussions with Mr Kovtun about his possible future involvement with
CPL. As Dr Shadrin put it, as at 3 October 2006, which was the date of the letter,
“it would be accurate to say that [Mr Kovtun was] pitching to provide consultant
services… because at that time obviously their previous role… has been finalised and
the new role, we haven’t negotiated out.” He further stressed that he did not regard his
discussions with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun at that time as a matter of any urgency.110
6.124 With regard to his meetings with Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy on 16 and 17 October
2006, Dr Shadrin recalled that they had discussed two possible future projects. One
related to further investigation/surveillance of Mr Livshitz and his group and the other
concerned the possibility that Mr Lugovoy’s company might be awarded a contract to
provide physical security at the sites in Siberia once drilling began, possibly as a joint
venture with security firms in the UK. He said that Mr Lugovoy also sought his advice
on raising finance for other unrelated business projects, including one relating to the
bottling company with which he was involved. Dr Shadrin also stated that, given their
possible future working relationship, he asked Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun to provide
copies of formal documents required under the Know Your Client protocols.111
6.125 The statement that Mr Kovtun provided to the Inquiry dated 2 June 2015112 gives a
rather different account of his engagement with Dr Shadrin at this time. That statement
gives the clear impression that the investigation into the Livshitz group was then still
underway. More than that, the statement suggests that one of the purposes of his trip
to London on 16 October 2006 was to discuss with Dr Shadrin a particular piece of
information that Mr Kovtun claimed to have discovered, namely that members of the
Livshitz group had been hacking the emails of an American company named Harvest
and Hicks, in particular those of a senior manager named Mr Byron.
6.126 Dr Shadrin had by this stage already given oral evidence to the Inquiry and he
addressed these points in a further written statement dated 24 June 2015.113 Put
108

Shadrin 14/154-155
Shadrin 14/168
110
Shadrin 14/170-171
111
Shadrin 14/176-182
112
INQ021208
113
INQ022384
109

135

The Litvinenko Inquiry

shortly, Dr Shadrin disputed Mr Kovtun’s account. He said that there had been no
need for Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun to visit him in London at this time, since he had
been a regular visitor to Moscow and they could have seen him there (as, indeed,
they had done previously). Dr Shadrin also said in his further statement that he had,
“no recollection of being provided with any reports pertaining to a US company called
Harvest and Hicks or a person called Mr Byron”.
6.127 The discrepancies between Mr Kovtun’s account and that given by Dr Shadrin are
certainly matters that would have been explored with Mr Kovtun had he given oral
evidence to the Inquiry. Since he did not do so, I am unable to reach any detailed
conclusions on these matters. But what can be said is that I have no reason to doubt
the truthfulness of what Dr Shadrin has told the Inquiry. That, in turn, gives rise to the
distinct possibility that Mr Kovtun has exaggerated, or perhaps entirely fabricated, the
business justification for his travel to London on this occasion. I will return to this point
in due course.
6.128 Before leaving this topic, I should add that secondary contamination was found at a
number of places at CPL’s offices in Grosvenor Street.114 As we shall see, Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun paid a number of visits to these offices during the period in question,
and it is not possible to state on which occasion or occasions this contamination might
have occurred.

Meeting at RISC
6.129 The evidence was that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun attended one further business
meeting on the afternoon of 17 October, on this occasion in company with
Mr Litvinenko. The meeting was with Mr Quirke of RISC. It took place at RISC’s offices
at 1 Cavendish Place, in Mayfair. Mr Quirke had, of course, met Mr Litvinenko and
Mr Lugovoy (although not Mr Kovtun) previously, and I have referred to the evidence
about those meetings above at paragraphs 4.115 to 4.119.
6.130 Mr Quirke gave oral evidence about the meeting.115 He said that it had been arranged a
fortnight or so in advance by Mr Litvinenko.116 He was a little uncertain as to the precise
timing of the meeting, but thought that it was already underway by shortly before
6.00pm.117 It would therefore appear that the meeting took place after Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun’s meeting with Dr Shadrin.
6.131 Mr Litvinenko had travelled down to central London by bus earlier in the afternoon.
The bus on which he travelled was subsequently identified and tested; no radiation
was detected.118
6.132 Mr Quirke’s evidence was that the meeting took less than an hour. Mr Lugovoy led
the discussions. Mr Quirke said he had not met Mr Kovtun before and had not been
expecting him to attend.119 He said that Mr Kovtun took no part in the meeting other
than operating a minidisc containing information.120
114

Mascall 11/126
Quirke 11/86-103
116
Quirke 11/90-91
117
Quirke 11/98-99 (it is clear from the context that words ‘Shortly before 5.00’ in the transcript should read
‘Shortly before 6.00’)
118
Mascall 11/125-126 see paragraphs 6.21-6.24 above for discussion regarding the value of such findings
119
Quirke 11/92
120
Quirke 11/94; 11/101
115

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.133 Discussion at the meeting centred on Mr Lugovoy and Mr Litvinenko’s continuing
investigations regarding the Stolichnaya case. Mr Lugovoy raised the possibility of
pressurising one of the Russian companies that was acting against Stolichnaya’s
interests by forcing its value down, a process he described as “greenmail”. Mr Quirke
stated that this was not a course that was subsequently pursued.121
6.134 Towards the end of the meeting, Mr Kovtun gave the minidisc that he had been
operating to Mr Quirke, who stated that he subsequently passed it to the police.122
6.135 The RISC offices were subsequently monitored for radiation and secondary
contamination was discovered at various places, including chairs in the boardroom.123
The highest reading was registered on a CD. It seems likely that this was the minidisc
that Mr Kovtun gave to Mr Quirke during the meeting that I have just described.

Events of the evening of 17 October
6.136 It appears that after the meeting with Mr Quirke, Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun and
Mr Litvinenko returned together to the Parkes Hotel. A witness statement from Alexey
Valuev was read in this regard.124 Mr Valuev was the son of a business associate of
Mr Lugovoy. He explained that Mr Lugovoy had arranged to meet him at the hotel that
evening so that Mr Lugovoy could give him some money from his father. He recalled
Mr Lugovoy arriving back at the hotel with Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko.
6.137 Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko subsequently went out for the evening
in London. As part of their enquiries, the police traced the establishments that they
had visited. DI Mascall gave evidence that the three men had gone for dinner at a
Chinese restaurant named the Golden Dragon in Gerrard Street. There was evidence
that Mr Lugovoy paid the bill at the restaurant using his credit card at 9.49pm. Further
similar credit card evidence showed that the men then moved on to a bar named Cafe
Boheme in Old Compton Street.125
6.138 Mr Litvinenko himself gave a brief description of the events of this evening in the
course of his interviews with the police whilst he was in hospital. He referred to going
to a Chinese restaurant and then to a pub in Soho. He said that he had only drunk
green tea and a glass of Coca-Cola at the restaurant. He said that the other two
had been drinking sake and had offered him some, but he had refused as “I don’t
drink alcohol generally”. It appears from Mr Litvinenko’s account that he went with
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun to the Cafe Boheme, but on arrival he didn’t like the
place and decided to go home. He said that he travelled back to Muswell Hill on a
134 bus from Tottenham Court Road, arriving home at about 11.00pm.126 The bus on
which Mr Litvinenko travelled that night was identified and tested; no radiation was
detected.127
6.139 DI Mascall explained that further evidence from Mr Lugovoy’s credit card showed that
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had subsequently gone to a nightclub named Hey Jo,
where Mr Lugovoy purchased more drinks. The receipts make it clear that Mr Lugovoy
121

Quirke 11/94-97
Quirke 11/97-98
123
Mascall 11/131-132; INQ017934 (page 85)
124
Valuev 11/127-130
125
Mascall 11/132-136
126
INQ016615 (pages 1-4)
127
Mascall 11/136 see paragraphs 6.21-6.24 above for discussion regarding the value of such findings.
122

137

The Litvinenko Inquiry

was in the club that evening.128 The evidence was that the two men had returned to
the Parkes Hotel at about 3.00am.129 DI Mascall subsequently confirmed that he had
found no evidence that Mr Litvinenko had ever been to Hey Jo nightclub.130
6.140 The Golden Dragon restaurant, Cafe Boheme and Hey Jo nightclub were all tested
for alpha radiation. No contamination was found at the Golden Dragon or at Cafe
Boheme. Secondary contamination was, however, found at Hey Jo nightclub.131
6.141 There is one further feature of the evidence about what took place that evening that
I must address.
6.142 In the witness statement dated 2 June 2015 that Mr Kovtun provided to the Inquiry, he
gave a description of an event that took place during the meal at the Golden Dragon
on the evening of 17 October 2006. The account that he gave was as follows:
“In the restaurant Litvinenko talked about the scoundrel Y. Felshtinsky, relating
how he had robbed him, unfairly dividing the fee for the book ‘Blowing up Russia’,
and how it was easy to obtain political asylum in Great Britain through A. Goldfarb,
whom he called a ‘CIA agent’. Litvinenko also suggested identifying wealthy citizens
in Russia with property in Spain and giving him their details. Using his connections
within the Spanish police, he would create problems for them there, and we would
then make contact with them and solve those problems for a significant material
reward.
Somehow or other, the subsequent conversation turned to Chechens, and
Litvinenko started boasting about his friendship with Sakayev and his brothers,
hinting at his indirect involvement in the events in Nalchik where over 70 Russian
police officers were killed in an attack on the town by Islamic militants. I was fed
up with listening to his harangue and gladly complied with Lugovoy’s request to
leave them. I went outside and walked about not far from the Chinese restaurant
for about 30 minutes.”
6.143 I draw attention to this section of Mr Kovtun’s statement because it is seriously at
odds with other accounts that both he and Mr Lugovoy have previously given.
6.144 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun gave a joint press conference in Moscow on 31 May
2007 – less than a year after Mr Litvinenko’s death. During the course of the press
conference, both of them gave accounts of conversations that they said had taken
place on 16/17 October between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Kovtun about Boris Berezovsky.
6.145 Mr Kovtun said that Mr Litvinenko had talked to him on the evening of 16 October
whilst they were waiting for a cab. He said that Mr Litvinenko had complained to him
about Mr Berezovsky cutting his salary. He said that Mr Litvinenko claimed that it had
been he and MI6 who had obtained asylum for Mr Berezovsky.132
6.146 Earlier in the same press conference, Mr Lugovoy had given an account of a
conversation which he said had taken place between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Kovtun at

128

INQ006360; INQ006361; INQ006362; INQ006363
Mascall 11/137
130
Mascall 29/75
131
INQ017934 (pages 87-93)
132
INQ001886 (page 17)
129

138

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

the Golden Dragon restaurant on the evening of 17 October. Mr Lugovoy said that the
conversation had taken place while he was away from the table. He said as follows:133
“In this connection I would like to tell you what Sasha had told Dmitry Kovtun not
long before his death, when we met together in October of last year. During our
dinner at one of the Chinatown restaurants in London, Litvinenko, enlarging on the
subject of ways to make money, touched upon the resumed negotiations between
Russia and the UK regarding Berezovsky’s extradition. Lamenting the fact that
Berezovsky did not appreciate the services rendered to him by Litvinenko, who
allegedly saved his life more than once, Litvinenko told Kovtun, that he had the
most important materials of compromising nature, regarding the illegal activity of
Berezovsky on the UK territory. If any part of the documents pertaining to the
circumstances of his obtaining the refugee status were to be made public, then he
(Berezovsky) would have huge problems. Litvinenko hinted to Dima, that especially
now, when Russia raised an issue with the UK of extraditing Berezovsky, it would be
very opportune to let Berezovsky know that such materials exist, and to put a value
of several million dollars on them. Still being financially dependent on Berezovsky
– Berezovsky was paying his son’s tuition fees and the family’s accommodation
in London, Litvinenko – Litvinenko asked Kovtun to find a reliable person, whom
he would introduce to Berezovsky, which person would be able to familiarise
Berezovsky with the materials, compromising him. Litvinenko was absolutely sure
of the success of this enterprise, referring to the explosive nature and authenticity
of the compromising materials he possessed. Since the conversation took place
when I left the table, Litvinenko asked Kovtun to keep that conversation between
them, fearing that I, as a person who could contact Berezovsky at any point, would
expose Litvinenko’s idea to him.”
6.147 Several years after the press conference, in 2011, Mr Lugovoy provided a lengthy
witness statement in the course of the Terluk libel proceedings. One section of
that statement was devoted to a detailed narrative account of the meetings that
he and Mr Kovtun had had with Mr Litvinenko in October and November 2006. In
that statement, Mr Lugovoy made no mention at all of anything that Mr Litvinenko
said at the Golden Dragon restaurant – whether in terms of a private discussion
between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Kovtun concerning Mr Berezovsky (as Mr Lugovoy
had described at the press conference) or in terms of a discussion about Russians in
Spain, as Mr Kovtun now asserts. Nor did he say anything about a discussion between
Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko on 16 October while they were waiting for a cab. Rather,
Mr Lugovoy gave an account of a conversation between Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko
that had supposedly taken place earlier in the day on 17 October. Paragraph 127 of
this statement read as follows:134
“We, that is Mr Litvinenko, Mr Kovtun and I, had a meeting at 18.00 with RISC on
17 October 2007 [sic]. After the meeting at RISC, when we were walking back to
the hotel, Mr Litvinenko was walking next to Mr Kovtun some distance ahead of
me. I was speaking on my mobile phone. Whilst we were walking I could not hear
what Mr Litvinenko was saying to Mr Kovtun. However, later that day Mr Kovtun told
me that Mr Litvinenko resumed his complaint that Mr Berezovsky was not treating
him fairly and that he simply could not survive on the money that Mr Berezovsky
was paying to him. He said that he knew information regarding Mr Berezovsky
that was worth a great deal of money. He said that he needed to find someone
133
134

INQ001886 (page 6)
INQ001788 (page 21)

139

The Litvinenko Inquiry

substantial and trustworthy who could sell this information without the source of
the information coming back to himself.”
6.148 I have previously referred to these two accounts in chapter 4 of Part 5 above. I have
set them out here again in order to demonstrate the very significant discrepancies
that exist between the accounts that have been given by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
over the years, ending in the statement that Mr Kovtun provided to the Inquiry in June
2015. Clearly, had Mr Kovtun (or, for that matter, Mr Lugovoy) given oral evidence to
the Inquiry, these discrepancies would have been addressed. Equally clearly, in the
absence of any explanation from either of the men, I am not in a position to place
any weight on these parts of their accounts. Arguably, the matter goes further than
that. The differences between the accounts are so marked that I might be driven
to conclude that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have been deliberately attempting to
mislead those attempting to discover the truth about these events, including myself. I
shall return to this matter in due course.
6.149 I add in passing that the freedom with which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have
previously provided these detailed accounts, both to the press and in evidence in UK
court proceedings, stands in stark contrast to what I was told was the legal prohibition
on Mr Kovtun giving evidence about the same matters to this Inquiry.135

18 October: return to Moscow
6.150 I heard evidence from Ms Rondoni that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun checked out of the
Parkes Hotel at about 10.00am the following morning, Wednesday 18 October 2006.
Mr Lugovoy paid the bill for both rooms. They told her that they were going to Gatwick
and she saw the porter call a taxi for them.136
6.151 Later that day, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun flew back to Moscow from Gatwick aboard
Transaero flight UN444.137 The bus on which they travelled from the terminal to the
aeroplane was tested and no radiation was detected.138 The aircraft used for the flight
that day was registration number EI-DNM. As I have already described, that aircraft
was tested by UK authorities and was found to contain secondary contamination in
the area of the seats on which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun sat on 18 October.139

135

Chairman 32/3-19
Rondoni 10/193-195
137
Mascall 11/139-140
138
Mascall 9/65-66 see paragraphs 6.21-6.24 above for discussion regarding the value of such findings.
139
Mascall 9/35-37
136

140

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Chapter 6:

Events in London 25-28 October

6.152 A week after he and Mr Kovtun had flown back to Moscow, Mr Lugovoy returned to
London. He arrived on an evening flight on Wednesday 25 October 2006. On this
occasion, he was not accompanied by Mr Kovtun. In further contrast to the earlier
trip, the evidence is that Mr Lugovoy’s travel on this occasion was hastily arranged.
Whereas the arrangements for the first trip (including, it appears, obtaining a visa for
Mr Kovtun) had been several weeks in the planning, the evidence was that on this
occasion Mr Lugovoy’s flight and hotel bookings had been made only the day before
he travelled, on Tuesday 24 October 2006.140
6.153 In the interim, Mr Litvinenko had made his speech at the Frontline Club about
Anna Politkovskaya’s death, publicly attributing the blame for her murder to
President Putin. That event had taken place on the evening of Thursday 19 October.
6.154 DI Mascall gave evidence that Mr Lugovoy flew into Heathrow on the evening of
25 October on British Airways flight BA875. The flight landed at Heathrow at 10.54pm
that evening. The aircraft that made the flight that day was G-BNWX.141 Secondary
contamination was subsequently discovered on that aircraft – see further below at
paragraphs 6.184 – 6.186.
6.155 Mr Lugovoy travelled into central London and booked into the Sheraton Hotel, where
he was given room 848.142
6.156 In a witness statement that he provided in the Terluk litigation, Mr Lugovoy described
this trip as, “another business trip where I was due to meet with some contacts in
London as regards some proposed work”.143

Meeting with Badri Patarkatsishvili
6.157 There is certainly evidence that Mr Lugovoy met with other business contacts at this
time. One of those contacts was Badri Patarkatsishvili.
6.158 Mr Patarkatsishvili was a wealthy Georgian businessman who was a close friend and
business partner of Boris Berezovsky. There is evidence that Mr Lugovoy travelled to
see Mr Patarkatsishvili at his house in Surrey on 26 October 2006. Mr Patarkatsishvili
provided witness statements to the police following Mr Litvinenko’s death, but he
himself died in 2008. Relevant sections of his statements were therefore read.
6.159 Mr Patarkatsishvili had told the police that he had known Mr Lugovoy since about 1993,
when the latter had been head of security at ORT, the Russian television channel that
Mr Patarkatsishvili and Mr Berezovsky had run together. More recently, Mr Lugovoy
had organised Mr Patarkatsishvili’s security in Georgia. Mr Patarkatsishvili told the
police that Mr Lugovoy visited him in Georgia every two months. Mr Patarkatsishvili
recalled a business meeting at his house in Surrey during October 2006. He said that,
in addition to himself and Mr Lugovoy, the meeting had been attended by Vladimir
Voronoff and also a man named Marti Pompadour. He said that the purpose of the
meeting was to discuss outdoor advertising in Moscow.144 There is no reason to think
that this was anything other than a genuine business meeting.
140

Mascall 12/4-5; 12/9
Mascall 12/10-12
142
Mascall 12/14-16
143
INQ001788 (page 22)
144
Patarkatsishvili 12/48-59
141

141

The Litvinenko Inquiry

6.160 I heard oral evidence from Bruno Bonetti, the chauffeur who drove Mr Lugovoy to
and from Mr Patarkatsishvili’s house on 26 October 2006. Mr Bonetti described how
he collected Mr Lugovoy from Park Lane at about 10.30 that morning. He drove him
to Surrey, near Leatherhead. With some difficulty, they found Mr Patarkatsishvili’s
house. Mr Bonetti recalled that Mr Lugovoy sat in the rear near side seat of the car.
He said that they did not talk much on the journey – Mr Lugovoy spent most of the
time on the telephone, speaking a language that he had not understood. Mr Bonetti
thought that they had arrived at Mr Patarkatsishvili’s house at about noon. He waited
all afternoon and drove Mr Lugovoy back to the hotel at 6.00pm, arriving at about
7.30pm. He said that on the return journey, as on the way out, Mr Lugovoy sat on the
rear near side passenger seat.145
6.161 Mr Bonetti’s car was subsequently tested for radiation and secondary contamination
was discovered. The highest readings were taken on the rear near side passenger
seat.146

Meeting with Boris Berezovsky
6.162 In his statement in the Terluk case to which I have referred above, Mr Lugovoy stated
that whilst he was at Mr Patarkatsishvili’s house, he received a call from Mr Berezovsky,
who asked him to visit him in his London offices. Mr Lugovoy went on in his statement
to describe going to see Mr Berezovsky and a discussion between the two of them
about the provision of personal security in Moscow for a journalist named Elena
Tregubova. He also referred in the statement to Mr Glushkov, one of Mr Berezovsky’s
close associates, coming into the room during the meeting and discussing wine.147
6.163 There is no doubt that this meeting did take place. Apart from Mr Lugovoy’s evidence,
I received evidence from a number of witnesses who described the meeting in similar
terms. This evidence included a statement given to the police by Mr Berezovsky before
his death,148 and also oral evidence from Mr Glushkov, who remembered Mr Lugovoy
coming to Mr Berezovsky’s offices and the discussion about wine.149
6.164 A witness statement given by Ms Tregubova was also read.150 She was a Russian
journalist who was actively opposed to the Putin regime. In her statement she explained
that she had been afraid for her safety following the murder of Anna Politkovskaya,
and that she had asked Mr Berezovsky to assist with her personal security. She
said that she was aware at the time that Mr Berezovsky was intending to speak with
Mr Lugovoy about her security, and in fact she said that Mr Lugovoy had telephoned
her following the meeting.
6.165 Whilst it is clear that the meeting took place, there is a conflict in the evidence as to
precisely when it took place. As I have said, Mr Lugovoy said that it happened shortly
after his visit to Mr Patarkatsishvili on 26 October 2006 (it is not clear from Mr Lugovoy’s
Terluk statement whether his account is that the meeting took place on 26 October
following his return from Surrey, or on the following day). Other witnesses, including
Mr Berezovsky, Mr Glushkov and Ms Tregubova, have stated that the meeting took
145

Bonetti 12/30-45
Mascall 12/117-118
147
INQ001788 (page 22)
148
INQ016371
149
Glushkov 17/6-21
150
Tregubova 29/62-66
146

142

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

place the following week, during Mr Lugovoy’s next (and final) trip to London – either
on 31 October or 1 November.
6.166 It does not seem to me to be necessary to make a factual finding as to the date of
this meeting. The difference between the dates that have been given for it is small.
Moreover, the discrepancy in the dates does not bear on what, to my mind, are the
two important points of substance that can be made about this meeting.
6.167 First, this episode demonstrates the high degree of trust that Boris Berezovsky placed
in Mr Lugovoy right up until the time that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned. It is apparent
from all the evidence that I have heard that Mr Berezovsky was very keen to protect his
own safety and that of those around him. It is therefore significant that Mr Lugovoy was
permitted entry to Mr Berezovsky’s offices – and, indeed, to Mr Berezovsky’s personal
suite within those offices. Moreover, Mr Lugovoy was asked by Mr Berezovsky to
assist in keeping safe one of his friends who feared that she might be at risk from
violent pro-Putin elements in Moscow. In short, it seems clear that as late as the
end of October 2006, Mr Berezovsky regarded Mr Lugovoy as a trusted associate –
someone who was ‘one of us’ in his dispute with the Putin regime.
6.168 In the course of his oral evidence, Mr Felshtinsky told me his understanding
of Mr Berezovsky’s relationship with Mr Lugovoy. The following passage of
Mr Felshtinsky’s evidence is taken from an answer he gave explaining why he had
not been at all surprised to find that Mr Berezovsky had invited Mr Lugovoy to his
60th birthday party, held in January 2006:151
“You see, Lugovoy according to legend… was put in prison for organising an
escape for Glushkov, a former director of… Aeroflot and a former associate of
Boris Berezovsky. So after being released from prison, Lugovoy became, you
know, a very close friend of Berezovsky, because he was a person who, because
of Berezovsky, spent many months in prison, and Berezovsky actually felt
uncomfortable because of this.
The question, of course, is whether Lugovoy was in prison indeed and I doubt that
he was.”
6.169 The second point relates to contamination. Mr Berezovsky provided the police with a
plan showing where both he and Mr Lugovoy had sat, on facing sofas, at the meeting.
That plan is in evidence before me, and is also reproduced below. It will be seen that
Mr Berezovsky initialled the seat where he sat during his meeting with Mr Lugovoy.
His evidence was that Mr Lugovoy sat on the sofa facing him. In the course of his
oral evidence, Mr Glushkov was shown the plan and endorsed it.152 Subsequently the
police made a plan of the room, which is also reproduced below. On the police plan,
the sofa on which Mr Berezovsky sat at the meeting is ‘sofa 2’ and Mr Lugovoy’s sofa
is ‘sofa 1’.
6.170 When Mr Berezovsky’s offices were monitored for radiation, secondary contamination
was found in a number of places. One such place was the photocopier that Mr Litvinenko
used when he visited the offices after meeting Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun at the Pine
Bar on 1 November 2006. The highest readings, however, were taken from ‘sofa 1’,
the sofa on which Mr Lugovoy had been sitting at his meeting with Mr Berezovsky.153
151

Felshtinsky 23/160-161
Glushkov 17/11-12
153
Mascall 16/203-210
152

143

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Berezovsky’s plan of his office154

The police plan of Mr Berezovsky’s office155

154
155

INQ019235
INQ020210 (page 2)

144

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Other meetings
6.171 The evidence now available to the Inquiry regarding Mr Lugovoy’s actions for the
remainder of this trip is limited. The account that Mr Lugovoy gave during his police
interview in Moscow did provide further detail in this regard, but for reasons that I
have outlined elsewhere (in Appendix 1, paragraphs 127 – 133) the record of that
interview is no longer material that I am able to use in evidence.
6.172 The records from the Sheraton indicate that Mr Lugovoy had breakfast at the hotel
on the morning of 27 October. Mr Lugovoy’s credit card billing and related witness
evidence show that he then spent the first part of that morning shopping in the
West End.156
6.173 Moving on, the Visitors’ Book at 58 Grosvenor Street, where CPL had its offices, has
an entry showing Mr Lugovoy arriving there at 11.30 on the morning of 27 October
2006.157 It is to be noted in this regard that the telephone schedule records a number
of calls made between Mr Lugovoy and Dr Shadrin the previous day, on 26 October.158
When he gave evidence before me, Dr Shadrin was unable to assist as to whether or
not he had seen Mr Lugovoy at his offices on that day.159
6.174 It also appears that Mr Lugovoy met Mr Litvinenko during this trip to London. There is
some evidence that the two met at the Sheraton Hotel on the evening of 26 October,
after Mr Lugovoy’s return from seeing Mr Patarkatsishvili. There is stronger evidence
that they met again on the following day, 27 October.
6.175 As to 26 October, it appears that Mr Litvinenko may well have met Mr Lugovoy in
the bar of the Sheraton Hotel some time after 7.00pm. It would appear probable that
Mr Lugovoy met someone there at that time, since the hotel records include a bar bill
in his name timed at 7.50pm for three glasses of wine and two teas.160 Mr Litvinenko,
as we have seen, did not drink alcohol.
6.176 Various other pieces of evidence indicate that Mr Litvinenko had been in touch with
Mr Lugovoy during the day and that he was in the vicinity of the Sheraton Hotel from
shortly before 7.00pm until 9.40pm that evening. The telephone schedule records
several telephone calls made between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Lugovoy that day.161
Mr Litvinenko’s Oyster Card records show that he travelled into central London in the
early afternoon of 26 October, and that he did not return home until after 10.00pm
that evening. Cell site evidence shows Mr Litvinenko in the vicinity of the Sheraton at
6.55pm.162 It therefore seems likely that it was he who drank tea with Mr Lugovoy that
evening.
6.177 There was another bar bill on Mr Lugovoy’s account for the next day, 27 October 2006,
timed at 5.21pm.163 On this occasion, a whisky and two teas were purchased. Cell site
evidence again shows Mr Litvinenko to have been in the vicinity of the Sheraton at
the time.164 Further, in the course of his interview with the police whilst in hospital,
156

Mascall 12/70-72
Mascall 12/72-73
158
INQ017809 (pages 66-67)
159
Shadrin 14/188
160
Mascall 12/68
161
INQ017809 (pages 66-67)
162
Mascall 12/67-70; INQ019311 (pages 10-11)
163
Mascall 12/84
164
INQ019311 (pages 12-13)
157

145

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Litvinenko referred to having purchased a new SIM card for Mr Lugovoy and giving
it to him at what he described as their “penultimate meeting” – i.e. their last meeting
before the Pine Bar.165 There is evidence that Mr Litvinenko purchased two SIM cards
at about 5.00pm on 27 October 2006.166 All this evidence tends to indicate that, as
with the previous day, it was Mr Litvinenko who drank tea with Mr Lugovoy on 27
October 2006. DI Mascall stated that the teapots used in the bar at the Sheraton –
which was named the Palm Court – were of a silver metal design.167

Contamination at the Sheraton Hotel
6.178 As I mentioned above, Mr Lugovoy occupied room 848 at the Sheraton for the nights
of 25, 26 and 27 October 2006.
6.179 DI Mascall gave evidence about the radioactive contamination found in the hotel.168 He
said that the readings taken there were the highest found in the entire investigation.
A1 gave her expert opinion as to the interpretation of these results.169
6.180 Secondary contamination was found throughout room 848. As with the Best Western
Hotel, the bathroom was a focus of higher readings. In contrast to the Best Western,
however, the readings taken in the bathroom sink and in the disposal pipe from the
sink were not especially high. Rather, the highest readings in room 848 were found
in the bathroom bin, in particular on one area of the base of the plastic inner casing
of the bin. A1 was very confident that these readings were evidence of primary
contamination.
6.181 The other notable feature of the pattern of contamination at the Sheraton Hotel was
the contamination found in the hotel laundry. Two towels found in the laundry also
gave such high radiation readings that A1 considered them to be consistent with
primary contamination. DI Mascall explained that, although the towels were not found
until January 2007, it had not been possible to ascertain whether or not they had in
fact been laundered since October 2006.
6.182 Given the readings to which I have referred, it seems likely that the two contaminated
towels in the laundry emanated from room 848. The findings of primary contamination
found there indicate that polonium was handled in that room. In their closing
submissions, Mr Horwell QC and Mr Emmerson QC suggested that the pattern of
contamination was consistent with an accidental spillage, perhaps followed by an
attempt to clean up and/or dispose of the solution.

Return to Moscow
6.183 Mr Lugovoy rose early on the morning of Saturday 28 October 2006. Hotel records at
the Sheraton indicate that he checked out at 5.30am. He travelled to Heathrow and
caught BA flight 872 to Moscow, which took off that morning at 9.10am.
6.184 The aircraft making the flight that morning was G-BNWX, the same plane on which he
had flown to Heathrow from Moscow three days earlier.170
165

INQ016570 (pages 5-7)
Mascall 12/81-83
167
Mascall 12/69
168
Mascall 12/105-117
169
A1 20/49-57
170
Mascall 12/91-92
166

146

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.185 This aircraft was tested for contamination at Heathrow on 29 November 2006. It was
discovered that in the month or so since the aircraft had flown on 25 and 28 October,
it had undergone a refit, with about half the seats being removed and replaced, and
the balance being moved around within the aircraft. The seats in which Mr Lugovoy
had been sitting on those dates were, respectively, 6K and 4A. No contamination was
found on the seats in those positions when the aircraft was tested on 29 November
2006, although secondary contamination was detected on seat 16K. Secondary
contamination was also found on the overhead locker above seats 6J and 6K.171
6.186 The seats that had been removed from the aircraft at the time of the refit (which had
taken place on 1 November 2006) had been taken to Blackwood in Wales. They were
also tested for contamination.172 There were 118 seats in total, all of which had come
from G-BNWX. Three of these seats were found to contain secondary contamination.
Whilst they were marked 14A, 14B and 13A, it was unclear whether that was in fact
where they had been positioned on the aircraft.
6.187 Mr Lugovoy was to return to London within a few days, on Tuesday 31 October 2006.
This time he was accompanied by family and friends, on a trip to watch a football
match that had been planned several weeks before.
6.188 As we shall see, however, one change to the travel arrangements was made at short
notice. Mr Kovtun was not initially included in any of the travel bookings made in
relation to the 31 October trip. However, on 27 October, a ticket was purchased for
him to fly from London to Moscow on 3 November, on the same flight upon which all
the other members of the party were already booked to return home.
6.189 The booking of this ticket appears to mark the moment at which a decision was taken
to add Mr Kovtun to the party travelling to London the following week. If that is right,
the decision was taken midway through Mr Lugovoy’s stay at the Sheraton Hotel.
I will return in due course to consider whether this change of plan could have had any
connection with the contaminated bath towels and waste bin in room 848.

171
172

Mascall 12/95-103
Mascall 12/103-104

147

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 7: Events in Hamburg 28 October –
1 November
6.190 Before turning to the group trip to London that commenced on 31 October, I propose
briefly to consider the evidence relating to Mr Kovtun’s stay in Hamburg that
immediately preceded it.
6.191 As DI Mascall explained in the course of his oral testimony to the Inquiry,173 the
evidence relating to this part of the narrative consists largely of the fruits of an
investigation conducted by the German authorities in the aftermath of Mr Litvinenko’s
death. That investigation was commenced in late 2006 after the Metropolitan Police
Service alerted their German colleagues to the details that they had uncovered as to
Mr Kovtun’s visit to Hamburg. The German police subsequently shared the evidence
that they had obtained with the British police.
6.192 One piece of the evidence that emerged from the German investigation is potentially
of considerable significance. It concerns a conversation that one of the German
witnesses, known to us as witness D3, says that he had with Mr Kovtun on the evening
of 30 October 2006. As we shall see, the German and British investigating teams
reached different conclusions as to the reliability of this evidence. The German police
thought that D3 was lying. The British police thought that he might well be telling the
truth. As DI Mascall stated, one explanation for this difference of views lay in the fact
that the German police only had access to the relatively limited evidence that they
themselves had obtained, whereas the British police could place D3’s account in
the context of all the other information that they had gathered in the course of their
investigation.174
6.193 For the purposes of this Inquiry, the question of the weight to be placed on D3’s
evidence is of course a matter for me.

Outline of events
6.194 The core events of this episode emerged clearly from the evidence and are, I think,
uncontroversial. They may be summarised as follows:
a.

On the morning of Saturday 28 October – the same morning that Mr Lugovoy
was returning to Moscow from London – Mr Kovtun took an Aeroflot flight from
Moscow to Hamburg175

b.

Mr Kovtun was collected from Hamburg airport by his ex-wife Marina Wall, her
partner Radoslaw Pietras and her children. He then returned with them to their
flat and stayed there that night176

173

Mascall 30/24-38
Mascall 30/29-30; 30/36-37
175
Mascall 24/2
176
Jolly 32/60 note that many of the dates given by Marina Wall during her interviews were one day out.
174

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c.

The next day, Sunday 29 October, Mr Kovtun made an internet booking for an
early morning flight from Hamburg to London on Wednesday 1 November. He
paid for the flight using Mr Pietras’ credit card177

d.

Later the same day (29 October) Mr Kovtun’s ex-mother in law, Dr Elenora Wall,
collected him and drove him to her house, where he stayed the night178

e.

On Monday 30 October, Mr Kovtun and Marina Wall attended an appointment
at the Hamburg Aliens’ Registration Office. The purpose of the appointment was
to have Mr Kovtun’s German residency permit inserted into his new (Russian)
passport. Marina Wall had pre-arranged the appointment for Mr Kovtun; Mr Kovtun
had asked her to make the appointment in a telephone conversation at the end
of August 2006179

f.

On the same day (30 October), Mr Kovtun telephoned his friend D3 and arranged
to meet him that evening at the Tarantella restaurant. Mr Kovtun and D3 spent the
evening together and Mr Kovtun stayed that night at D3’s flat180

g.

On the following day, Tuesday 31 October, Mr Kovtun returned to Marina Wall’s
flat, where he spent the night181

h.

Early on the morning of the following day (Wednesday 1 November), Mr Kovtun
flew to London182

Contamination
6.195 The German authorities conducted widespread tests for radiation in Hamburg
following Mr Litvinenko’s death. Secondary contamination was discovered in many of
the places that Mr Kovtun had visited during his brief stay.
6.196 Secondary contamination was found in Marina Wall’s flat, where Mr Kovtun had spent
his first and last night in Hamburg, and also in the BMW car in which she had picked
him up from the airport.183
6.197 Secondary contamination was also found in Elenora Wall’s house.184 No contamination
was found at the Aliens’ Registration Office, although a slightly raised reading was
taken under the passport photograph in Mr Kovtun’s passport.185
6.198 Secondary contamination was also found on the bed in D3’s flat, where Mr Kovtun
had spent the night of Monday 30 October.186
6.199 The German authorities also wished to test the Aeroflot aircraft on which Mr Kovtun
had flown into Hamburg and the Germanwings aircraft on which he had flown on
177

Jolly 32/61
Jolly 32/76-77
179
Jolly 32/60-61
180
Mascall 30/46-47; 30/54-60
181
Jolly 32/62
182
Mascall 16/25-27
183
Mascall 24/3-6
184
Mascall 24/6-7
185
Mascall 24/7-8
186
Mascall 24/8-9
178

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to London. The Germanwings aircraft was tested but no radiation was detected.187
The Aeroflot aircraft was never tested. DI Mascall stated that the German authorities
had expected the aircraft to arrive from Russia on a certain date to be tested, but a
different plane arrived in its place.188

The German witnesses
6.200 Before going further, there are two observations that I should make about the
procedural position of the German witnesses.
6.201 First, it will be seen that a number of the German witnesses are referred to by way
of pseudonyms – D3, D6, D7, etc. The reason for this is that I have made orders
granting these individuals anonymity for the purposes of these proceedings. The
details of these orders and the grounds for making them are discussed in more detail
at paragraphs 79-81 of Appendix 1. For the avoidance of doubt, and as with all such
orders, the names of these individuals are of course known to me and to my team.
6.202 Second, all bar one of the German witnesses did not give oral evidence to the Inquiry.
Those who did not were D3, D7, Inna Hohne, Marina Wall and Elenora Wall. I had
very much hoped that these witnesses would give oral evidence. They were contacted
in advance and arrangements were made for evidence to be given using video link
facilities in Hamburg. These facilities were used successfully for D6, who did give
evidence. As DI Mascall explained, D7 did not give oral evidence because he was on
holiday at the relevant time. As to the others, requests that they give oral evidence
were sent to them and it is known that these requests were safely delivered. However,
no responses to the requests were received. It is to be inferred that these individuals
have declined to give oral evidence.189
6.203 In these circumstances, the evidence of these individuals was adduced by reading into
the record sections of the transcripts of their interviews with the German investigators.
6.204 I should make it clear that, since these individuals are outside the jurisdiction, I have
no power to compel them to give oral evidence. As to the weight that I should attach
to the transcripts of their interviews, it is true that it has not been possible for their
evidence to be tested or challenged. I have also not had the opportunity of observing
their demeanour in answering questions. Those are considerations that must be borne
in mind in considering their evidence. They apply in particular to D3, whose evidence
is the most controversial of the group. Aside from these practical considerations, I
do not consider that the accounts given by any of these witnesses are rendered less
reliable simply as a result of their refusal (as I interpret it) to give oral evidence. That
was a decision that they were entitled to take, and they may each have had good
reasons for taking it.

D3’s account
6.205 It seems to me to be clear from the evidence that the initial purpose of Mr Kovtun’s
trip to Hamburg was to attend the appointment at the Aliens’ Registration Office
that Marina Wall had booked for him several weeks before. It is also apparent, and
unsurprising, that Mr Kovtun took the opportunity of his brief stay in Hamburg to catch
187

Mascall 16/27-28
Mascall 24/2-3
189
Mascall 30/39-41
188

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up with old friends and former family members. The secondary contamination that
was discovered in the places Mr Kovtun visited, whilst important, is no more than
consistent with the contamination discovered in London that is linked to Mr Kovtun’s
movements both before and after his time in Hamburg.
6.206 The single piece of evidence about Mr Kovtun’s time in Hamburg that stands out from
the rest is the account given by D3 of a brief conversation that he had with Mr Kovtun
during the evening of Monday 30 October 2006.
6.207 D3 was interviewed by German investigators on five occasions – three times in
December 2006, once in January 2007 and once (at the request of the British police)
in September 2010. Transcripts were made of each interview and extensive sections
of each of these transcripts were read into the record during DI Mascall’s evidence on
Day 30 of the Inquiry hearings.190
6.208 The core of the account that D3 gave in the course of the interviews was straightforward.
6.209 D3 said that he was an old friend of Mr Kovtun, having known him since 1996 when
they both worked as waiters at the Il Porto restaurant in the harbour area of Hamburg.
They had kept in touch after both of them had left Il Porto, occasionally meeting up to
play chess and have a beer. D3 said that Mr Kovtun had telephoned him on Monday
30 October and asked if they could meet. He wasn’t surprised by this – it was normal
for Mr Kovtun to call out of the blue and suggest meeting up.
6.210 D3 said that they had indeed met up that evening. Initially, Mr Kovtun came to the
Tarantella restaurant where D3 was having a meal with a friend, D5. Later, all three left
the restaurant, intending to go to a casino. D5 went ahead, leaving D3 and Mr Kovtun
walking alone. This was the point at which, on D3’s account, the critical conversation
took place.
6.211 When he was first interviewed by the German police on 9 December 2006, D3 made
no mention of this conversation at all. He gave a brief narrative of the evening, in
which he passed straight from leaving the restaurant, to a short stay in a games
arcade on the Steindamm, to returning home.191
6.212 However, when D3 was interviewed for a second time, less than two weeks later on
21 December 2006, he gave a far more detailed account. I have set out the critical
section of the interview transcript below:192
A: “We all three left the restaurant. We wanted to go to the casino on the
Steindamm. Witness D5 went ahead because he wanted to meet somebody.
Afterwards he was going to come to the gambling casino, however. I do not
know who he wanted to meet. It happened when Dmitri and I were now alone
and he told me this tale.
Q: What did he say to you word for word?
A: Dmitri asked whether I knew Litvinenko or had heard of him. I answered
no. Dmitri said word for word, ‘Litvinenko was a traitor, there is blood on his
hands.’ He went on to say that Litvinenko does deals with Chechnya and then
he asked me whether I knew a cook who was working in London. I told him
190

Mascall 30/41-115
Mascall 30/47
192
Mascall 30/56-57
191

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

witness C2. Witness C2 was a cook at Il Porto and he told me that he wanted
to go to England. I cannot say whether witness C2 is his first name or surname.
Also, I do not know actually whether witness C2 ever went to England. I gave
Dmitri the name without knowing exactly whether he was in fact in England. I
cannot remember the exact words. Dmitri said that he had a very expensive
poison and needed the cook to administer it to Litvinenko. I cannot remember
whether Dmitri said he had the poison. I did not take seriously what Dmitri
said. I thought it was just talk.
Q: Try once more to remember the exact words?
A: Kovtun said, ‘I need this cook to put poison in Litvinenko’s food or drink.’ He
also said the poison is very expensive. As I have said already I did not take
him seriously. I said to him he was crazy. The cook is married, I meant witness
C2, it would be much easier to shoot Litvinenko, I said jokingly. Kovtun said
after that, ‘It is meant to set an example.’ I answered that he should stop this
nonsense. I asked him in addition why he told me of all people. I did not say
anything more on this subject after that.
Q: Did he say anything else on the way to the casino?
A: He said he would soon have his own flat in Moscow. I replied that that would
be nice and I could come and visit him there.”
6.213 D3 added that he did not think that Mr Kovtun had been drunk at the time of this
conversation. He said that Mr Kovtun had behaved normally for the rest of the evening.
They had spent only a short time at the casino and had then both gone back to sleep
at D3’s flat. He said that Mr Kovtun had left early the next morning.
6.214 D3 was subsequently asked again about this conversation at an interview with the
German investigators in January 2007,193 and again at the interview in September
2010.194 On both occasions, D3 gave the same basic account of this conversation.
There were some variations in what he said, but none were significant.
6.215 D3 was also asked during both of these interviews why he had not given this account
at the time of his first interview. He answered at some length.195 In summary, he said
that he had been – and remained – afraid to be involved in what he described as
“this huge affair”. He said that initially he had hoped that the police “could solve this
case alone”. His fears appear to have included a concern for his physical safety – for
example, he said that he was worried that “something may also happen to me” –
but he was clear that Mr Kovtun had never threatened him, including in at least one
telephone conversation that had taken place since Mr Litvinenko’s death.
6.216 Mr Kovtun provided a response to D3’s evidence in his statement dated 2 June 2015.
He said:196
“I would add that during that meeting D-3 and his friend [D5] were smoking heroin;
I was shocked to see D-3 doing this because he had never done it before. [D5]
by contrast, is a heroin addict with a long record for using hard drugs. I was very
pained by those circumstances. It is entirely possible that it was in fact the use of
193

Mascall 30/73-74
Mascall 30/83-92
195
Mascall 30/60-65; 30/108-112
196
INQ021208 (page 9)
194

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heroin that would explain the preposterous and untruthful statements made by
witness D-3 in relation to me. I should be grateful if you would verify the fact that
the witness D-3 uses heroin.”
6.217 Mr Kovtun did not identify precisely what he meant by D3’s “preposterous and
untruthful statements”, and since he declined to give oral evidence to the Inquiry it
was not possible to ask him to be more specific. I assume that he rejects the entirety
of the alleged conversation that I have set out above.
6.218 Equally, the fact that D3 did not give oral evidence meant that I was unable to explore
with him Mr Kovtun’s allegations about his drug use, and what I take to be Mr Kovtun’s
contention that D3’s account of his conversation with Mr Kovtun was either imagined
or distorted as a result of having taken heroin that evening.
6.219 I will make my findings as to what I think really took place between Mr Kovtun and
D3 in Hamburg that evening when I set out my conclusions at the end of this Report.
Ultimately, this issue boils down to which of the two men has been truthful in the
accounts that they have given. That does not mean, of course, that those accounts
are all that I have to go on. The truthfulness of this part of Mr Kovtun’s evidence is
something that I can and must judge alongside the truthfulness of the rest of the
evidence that he has given. In this case, that includes his evidence as to how and why
he did in fact make contact with C2 after he arrived in London later that week. That is
an issue to which I will turn in the next chapter of this Part.

Mr Kovtun obtains C2’s phone number
6.220 In his 2 June 2015 witness statement, Mr Kovtun gave his account of how he obtained
C2’s telephone number. He said:197
“During my visit to Hamburg in the period between 28 October and 1 November I
met my former employer, the owner of ‘Il Porto’ restaurant, [D4]. He gave me the
telephone number of [D7] (manager of the ‘Il Porto’ restaurant in Hamburg), and
[D7] passed on [C2]’s telephone number in Great Britain.”
6.221 The other evidence available to me suggests that this account is broadly accurate, but
that Mr Kovtun in fact obtained C2’s number from D6, and not D7.
6.222 D6 gave oral evidence by video link from Hamburg.198 He said that he had formerly
worked at Il Porto as a barman and a waiter and that he had known Mr Kovtun during
his time there. He stated that Mr Kovtun had called him in 2006, explaining that he
had got D6’s phone number from their former boss, D4. Mr Kovtun had asked D6
whether he had a telephone number for C2 in England. D6 did not have C2’s number.
However, he said that he rang another former colleague from Il Porto days, D7, who
did have C2’s number. D6 explained that D7 had spoken to C2 and asked for his
consent to pass his number to Mr Kovtun; C2 had agreed. D6 said that D7 then
passed the number to him, and he had then texted C2’s number to Mr Kovtun. D6
said that this had all taken place in a single day. He could not remember the date, but
he thought that it was a day or two before a Union of European Football Associations
(UEFA) cup match. He also said that it was the day when Mr Kovtun was travelling to
the UK.
197
198

INQ021208 (page 11)
D6 30/2-22

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6.223 D7’s evidence, which consisted of transcripts of interviews with German investigators,
was read.199 The transcripts showed that, although he had initially denied it, D7 had
ultimately given an account that was consistent with D6’s story. D7 said:200
“I was at the workplace, under stress, and D6 called me and said Dmitri wanted
to go to London and he wanted to have C2’s telephone number. I said, I am
sorry I cannot give him the telephone number if I do not know why he needs it.
Subsequently I [called] C2 briefly and asked him whether I could pass on his
telephone number. C2 said I can pass on the telephone number to him and 10
minutes later D6 called me again, and I gave him C2’s telephone number.”
6.224 C2 gave evidence confirming D7’s account.201
6.225 The telephone schedule shows a call from D7 to C2 at 7.14pm on the evening of
Tuesday 31 October 2006.202 It would therefore appear that the exchanges between
Mr Kovtun, D6, D7 and C2 took place on that day. This is broadly consistent with
D6’s memory, since 31 October was Mr Kovtun’s last day in Hamburg before he flew
to London very early the next morning, and was also two days before a Champions
League football match between Arsenal and CSKA Moscow. It was also, of course,
the day after Mr Kovtun’s evening with D3.

199

Mascall 30/116-154
Mascall 30/150-151
201
C2 24/28-29
202
INQ020044 (page 3)
200

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Chapter 8: Events in London 31 October –
3 November
6.226 One fact about Mr Lugovoy that emerges with some clarity from the totality of the
evidence is that he was a keen supporter of the CSKA Moscow football team. As I
have mentioned above, when Mr Lugovoy met up with Mr Litvinenko for the first time
in London in October 2004, he was in London to watch a match between Chelsea
and CSKA (see above at paragraph 4.149). Mr Quirke gave evidence that during his
meeting with Mr Lugovoy on 17 October 2006, Mr Lugovoy received a text alert about
a goal that had been scored in a match that was taking place between CSKA and
Arsenal.203
6.227 It is not, therefore, surprising that Mr Lugovoy should have come to London to watch
CSKA play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday 1 November 2006.
6.228 Nor did Mr Lugovoy come alone. The evidence shows that, on this occasion, he brought
a group of people with him from Moscow. The core of the group was Mr Lugovoy’s
family – himself, his wife Svetlana, his two daughters Galina and Tatiana, who were
19 and 20 respectively, and his eight year old son Igor. Also in the group were Tatiana’s
boyfriend, Maxim Begak, and a business partner of Mr Lugovoy named Mr Sokolenko.
6.229 The group flew from Moscow to London on Tuesday 31 October 2006. Tatiana and
Maxim caught an early morning flight from Moscow; the rest of the group caught an
afternoon flight. Whilst in London the group (with the exception of Mr Begak) stayed
at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair. They all flew home together on
Friday 3 November.
6.230 The evidence was that this was a long planned trip. The flight bookings had been
made on 12 October 2006.204 The hotel bookings had been made two days earlier,
on 10 October 2006.205 DI Mascall referred to evidence that Mr Lugovoy had made
arrangements to obtain tickets for the football match from Mr Shuppe, Mr Berezovsky’s
son in law, in September 2006.206
6.231 Putting these details into context, it will be seen that this family trip to watch a football
match had been arranged some time before Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun made their
first trip to see Mr Litvinenko on 16 October 2006. The question that I will have to
consider is whether the later visit to London remained simply a recreational trip or
whether, perhaps as a result of intervening events, it subsequently came to serve a
different, additional, purpose.

Arrival of Andrey Lugovoy and his party
6.232 As I have said, the first of the Lugovoy party to arrive in London on Tuesday 31 October
2006 were Tatiana Lugovoya and her boyfriend Maxim Begak. They flew into Heathrow
on BA flight 881, which landed that morning at 7.11am.207 The registration number of
the aircraft that made the flight that day was G-EUUG. DI Mascall explained that
203

Quirke 11/98-99
Mascall 13/168-173
205
Mascall 13/191
206
Mascall 13/165-166; 16/215-216
207
Mascall 13/185-187
204

155

The Litvinenko Inquiry

that particular plane was never tested because it was not believed to be at risk of
contamination.208
6.233 The rest of the party (that is, Andrey, Svetlana, Galina and Igor Lugovoy and
Mr Sokolenko) flew from Moscow later in the day. They took BA flight 873, which
landed at Heathrow at 6.35 in the evening. All five of them sat in seats in row 23 of the
aircraft. The registration number of the aircraft was G-BNWB.209
6.234 G-BNWB was tested for contamination, and readings indicating secondary
contamination were taken in the area of row 23. The highest readings were taken on
seat 23D, which was the seat that had been occupied on this flight by Mr Lugovoy.
6.235 Later that evening Mr Lugovoy and his party checked into their rooms at the Millennium
Hotel. The hotel records indicate that there was some confusion over the allocation
of rooms, and this appears to have been caused at least in part by Tatiana Lugovoya
arriving and checking in ahead of the main group. DI Mascall gave evidence about
the detail of the process,210 but I do not propose to rehearse it here. The final position
reached was that Andrey, Svetlana and Igor Lugovoy were allocated room 441, Tatiana
and Galina Lugovoya were allocated room 101 and Mr Sokolenko was allocated room
382. Mr Begak had checked into a different hotel earlier in the day.211
6.236 The telephone schedule indicates that Mr Lugovoy made a telephone call to
Mr Litvinenko lasting six minutes shortly after 9.00 that evening.212 There had been
no previous telephone communication between them during the day. It is of some
potential significance that the evidence shows Mr Lugovoy initiating contact with
Mr Litvinenko, and not the other way around.

Arrival of Dmitri Kovtun
6.237 Dmitri Kovtun flew into London on a Germanwings flight early on the morning of
Wednesday 1 November 2006.
6.238 I have already referred to Marina Wall’s evidence that Mr Kovtun booked his onward
flight to London on the internet on Sunday 29 October, the day after he had arrived in
Hamburg. She also said that Mr Kovtun had used her boyfriend’s credit card to pay
for the ticket. Enquiries made by the German police confirmed Ms Wall’s memory of
events. They confirmed that the booking had been made on 29 October in the name
of Radoslaw Michal.213
6.239 As I have also mentioned above, Mr Kovtun’s return flight from London to Moscow
had in fact been booked two days previously, on 27 October. Documentary evidence
demonstrates that on that day a booking was made for Mr Kovtun to fly to Moscow on
flight BA874 on 3 November, the flight on which the rest of Mr Lugovoy’s party were
already booked. The booking was made with the same travel agent as had previously
booked the travel for Mr Lugovoy’s party.214
208

Mascall 13/187-188
Mascall 13/192-195
210
Mascall 13/191-192; 16/14-20
211
Mascall 13/188-189
212
INQ020044 (page 3)
213
Mascall 13/176-177
214
Mascall 13/179-180
209

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6.240 Mr Kovtun’s flight was scheduled to land at 7.25 that morning. There was no evidence
of its actual arrival time, but it must have landed on time, or perhaps even slightly
early, because Mr Kovtun can be seen on CCTV footage arriving at the Millennium
Hotel shortly after 8.30am.215 The aircraft on which he had travelled was subsequently
tested by the German authorities, but no contamination was found.216
6.241 Mr Kovtun did not have his own room at the Millennium Hotel. CCTV footage from
within the hotel showed that for the two days and two nights that he was in London on
this occasion, he shared room 382 with Mr Sokolenko.217

What was Mr Kovtun doing in London?
6.242 Before continuing with the narrative of events on 1 November, it is perhaps worth
pausing to consider a question to which I have already alluded more than once. What
was the purpose of Mr Kovtun’s flight that morning? What was he doing in London?
6.243 The first point to address is whether Mr Kovtun’s trip had been planned with any
particular purpose at all. In his 2 June 2015 witness statement, Mr Kovtun denied this.
He said, in summary, that he had only come to London “by chance”, and that he only
decided to make the trip after he had resolved his business at the Aliens’ Registration
Office with unexpected speed. The relevant section of the witness statement stated
as follows:218
“I have declared repeatedly and publicly that I arrived in London by chance on
1 November because I was anticipating serious complications in Hamburg while
arranging to have a ‘residence permit’ inserted into my new passport. That had to
be done because the old passport expired on 11.04.06. For reasons which had
nothing to do with me I did not receive the new passport until 17.08.2006, and I
arrived in Germany on 28.10.2006. This meant that I had involuntarily infringed
a whole series of provisions of the ‘residence permit’ law of Germany. Firstly, the
periods laid down for crossing the border had been infringed. In connection with
that I anticipated complications with having a ‘residence permit’ inserted into the
new passport and was prepared for the fact that I might have to stay in Germany
for 2-3 weeks and deal with residence and insurance matters, registration of the
company, or employment. It was entirely possible that I would have to engage a
lawyer. In any case I had not contemplated a trip to London until there was a happy
turn of events for me when the employee of the foreign affairs department simply
overlooked the abovementioned facts.”
I have underlined what appear to me to be the most important parts of this passage.
6.244 As I have previously remarked in relation to other sections of Mr Kovtun’s statement,
the fact that Mr Kovtun decided not to give oral evidence to the Inquiry means
that it was not possible to test him on difficulties and apparent inconsistencies in
his account. However, even without the benefit of having heard Mr Kovtun’s oral
explanation, it seems tolerably clear that this section of his statement is false and was
intended to mislead me. The suggestion made by Mr Kovtun is that he only decided
to travel to London after his appointment at the Aliens’ Registration Office on Monday
30 October – indeed, he states that he had not even “contemplated” making the trip
215

Mascall 16/26-32
Mascall 16/27-30
217
Mascall 16/32
218
INQ021208 (page 8)
216

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

until then. That is plainly inconsistent with the fact that a return ticket from London to
Moscow had been purchased for him on 27 October and that Mr Kovtun himself had
purchased a ticket from Hamburg to London on Sunday 29 October – the day before
his appointment at the Aliens’ Registration Office. I simply do not accept that these
arrangements would have been made unless a decision had already been taken that
Mr Kovtun would travel to London on 1 November.
6.245 If that is right, there must have been a reason for the decision that Mr Kovtun made
to make a special trip to London. The statement also raises a further question – why
is Mr Kovtun now attempting to confuse the issue?
6.246 There are some suggestions in Marina Wall’s interview transcripts that Mr Kovtun was
intending to go to London in order to watch the Arsenal v CSKA Moscow match. For
example, she said at one point; “Dmitry wanted to go to London to a football match.
He told me that he wanted to meet up with two friends in London and they then
wanted to go to the football match.” 219 It is clear, however, that this was not the reason
for Mr Kovtun’s trip to London. Apart from the fact that Mr Kovtun makes no mention
of any plan for him to attend the match in his recent statement, there is evidence, to
which we shall come, that there were not enough tickets for Mr Kovtun to go to the
match, and it is clear on the evidence that he did not in fact go to the match.
6.247 In the Declaration that he made at the British Embassy in Moscow on 23 November
2006, Mr Kovtun gave a different explanation for his trip to London. At that time, he did
not say that he had made the trip simply “by chance”, or that he had come to watch
the football match. Rather, he said:220
“The second time that I came to London was on 1 November 2006. I came from
Hamburg, having agreed my visit with Continental Petroleum Ltd, with the aim
of passing several documents to one of the members of the Board, Dr Shadrin.
Mr Lugovoy was present at the talks, with Dr Shadrin as my main partner in the oil
field development projects.”
6.248 I will turn to Dr Shadrin’s evidence about his contact with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
shortly. In summary, however, he contradicted the idea that there was any pressing
business justification for Mr Kovtun’s journey to London. He could not recall any
important business being discussed when Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun came to his
offices on 1 November – most of the time was spent talking about football. And in any
event, he made regular visits to Moscow at that time and they could have seen him
there if they wished. They did give him some documents, but these were standard
‘Know Your Client’ compliance documents. There was no need to deliver them by
hand and certainly no need for Mr Kovtun to make a special trip to London to do so.
6.249 Mr Kovtun’s 2 June 2015 witness statement does disclose one further possible motive
for his trip to London, namely a desire to contact C2 and ask him if he would like
to move to Moscow and become the chef at a new restaurant that Mr Kovtun and
Mr Lugovoy were planning to open. This is another matter to which I shall shortly come.
Mr Kovtun has not of course said, either in his June 2015 statement or anywhere else,
that a desire to speak to C2 was what prompted him to come to London. As we shall
see, having arrived in London Mr Kovtun made very limited attempts to meet C2, and
appears never to have put his proposal to him at all.
219
220

Jolly 32/60
INQ002696

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.250 In conclusion, the question that I posed at the outset of this section remains unanswered.
There must have been a reason for the decision, which the evidence shows to have
been taken at short notice, for Mr Kovtun to fly to London and join Mr Lugovoy’s party
there. The different (and conflicting) explanations that Mr Kovtun has given over time
are unconvincing. What was the reason?

Movements of Kovtun and Lugovoy – morning of 1 November
6.251 DI Mascall gave evidence about the movements and activities of Mr Lugovoy,
Mr Kovtun and the rest of the group from the morning until the late afternoon of
1 November 2006. In outline:
a.

There is CCTV evidence of the whole group (that is, the five members of the
Lugovoy family, Mr Sokolenko and Mr Kovtun) leaving the hotel together at about
10.08am221

b.

Witness and documentary evidence demonstrates that at 10.26am Mr Lugovoy’s
credit card was used to pay for tickets for a ‘Big Bus’ sightseeing tour of London,
commencing at Marble Arch. Four adult and one child’s tickets were purchased.
It appears that Mrs Lugovoya with her three children and Mr Sokolenko went on
the tour.222 As we shall see, they returned to the hotel later that afternoon

c.

Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun appear to have walked on from Marble Arch together.
The telephone schedule indicates that at 10.42am Mr Lugovoy made a short
telephone call to Mr Berezovsky’s offices, which were nearby.223 It is possible that
he popped in to Mr Berezovsky’s offices at this stage to collect the tickets for the
football match. Another possibility is that the meeting between Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Berezovsky at which Ms Tregubova’s security was discussed took place at
about this time

d.

The Visitors’ Book at 58 Grosvenor Street, where CPL had its offices, records
that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun arrived there at some point in the late morning of
1 November 2006 (the entries for Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun are dated 31 October,
but the sequence of the timings on the page suggest that these entries were in
fact made on 1 November).224 There is other evidence, to which I shall return, that
they were there that morning. DI Mascall stated that cell site evidence suggested
(although he was careful not to put it higher than that) that the two men arrived at
the CPL offices at about noon and stayed there for a number of hours225

e.

The telephone schedule indicates that two potentially significant calls were made
from Mr Lugovoy’s mobile phone shortly after 11.30am.226 At 11.33am, a call lasting
1 minute and 14 seconds was made to C2. A few minutes later, at 11.41am, a call
lasting nearly five minutes was made to Mr Litvinenko. As I have indicated above,
DI Mascall stated that the cell site evidence tended to suggest that the calls were
made before Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun arrived at the CPL offices

221

Mascall 16/34
Mascall 16/36-38
223
INQ020044 (page 4)
224
INQ006389 (page 5); Davison 14/121
225
Mascall 16/45-49
226
INQ020044 (page 4)
222

159

The Litvinenko Inquiry

f.

CCTV footage at the Millennium Hotel shows Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun arriving
back there at about 3.30pm.227 Similar footage shows Mr Litvinenko arriving at the
hotel at about 4.00pm.228 There is evidence, to which I shall of course return, about
a meeting that then took place in the Pine Bar of the hotel between Mr Lugovoy,
Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko. CCTV footage shows Mr Sokolenko, Mrs Lugovoya
and her children arriving back at the hotel at about 4.30pm,229 which was about
the time that the meeting in the Pine Bar was breaking up

6.252 There is a degree of overlap between Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun’s visit to the CPL
offices and the two phone calls made shortly after 11.30am. I propose to address the
two issues together.
6.253 It is quite clear that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun did attend the CPL offices at some
point on the morning of 1 November. I have already referred to the evidence of the
Visitors’ Book and the cell siting. The Visitors’ Book does not record a time of arrival.
Mrs Davison’s evidence was that the two men arrived between 11.00am and noon,230
which is broadly consistent with DI Mascall’s understanding of the cell site evidence.
6.254 I heard evidence from three individuals who were present at the CPL offices that day
and who recalled meeting Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun. They were Dr Shadrin himself,231
his assistant Mrs Davison232 and Mr Gorokov,233 a colleague of his. Mr Gorokov was
confused over dates, but it is clear that the events he was describing took place on
1 November, since he remembered that it had been the day of the match between
Arsenal and CSKA Moscow.
6.255 The strong impression that I gained from the evidence of these three witnesses was
that there was little real business, and certainly no urgent or important business, done
that day.
6.256 Mr Gorokov and Mrs Davison were both, as it happened, football fans who were due
to go to the match that evening. They both recalled discussing the prospects for the
match with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun. Mr Gorokov recalled speaking to Mr Lugovoy
for 15 or 20 minutes about football, including looking at his ticket and telling him that
he had a good seat. He was asked directly whether they had discussed any business
at all – he said, “No, this time it was not business; it was only saying this sporting
matters.” 234
6.257 Dr Shadrin recalled that there had been a meeting on that day and that he had had
some general discussions with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun about possible new
projects, but his main memory appears to have been of Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
discussing the football with Mrs Davison and Mr Gorokov. He said:
“… frankly I don’t remember that we actually discussed anything. Basically I was
trying to explain Lugovoy the steps that he needs to undertake to develop the

227

Mascall 16/87
Mascall 16/92-93
229
Mascall 16/170-171
230
Davison 14/124
231
Shadrin 14/191-195
232
Davison 14/114-137
233
Gorokov 13/142-155
234
Gorokov 13/151-152
228

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Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

projects and the procedure that he has to adhere, but I don’t know whether he
actually listened to me very carefully.” 235
When asked whether he remembered Mr Kovtun being present, Dr Shadrin said:
“I don’t remember, actually. Probably he was. But effectively they were talking
more about football, and openly I just quitted the meeting, because I think that was
probably early – it was midday/early afternoon, because obviously everyone was
going to… attend the match.” 236
When asked whether he recalled the meeting being disturbed by Mr Lugovoy receiving
a call from anyone else, Dr Shadrin replied:
“No. Actually, … I was trying to be focused on the matters that I would like…
them to understand, and basically explain them the procedures that they need to
comply with, but the major part of the conversation was just going into jokes and
discussion about football.” 237
6.258 Dr Shadrin did recall that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun delivered some ‘Know Your
Client’ documents, but his memory is that they did so the next day, when he was
engaged in another meeting.238
6.259 I have addressed the evidence relating to the meeting with Dr Shadrin in some detail
because it is relevant to the question of why Mr Kovtun travelled to London. As I have
set out, one of the explanations that Mr Kovtun has given over time is that he needed
to come to London to do business with Dr Shadrin.
6.260 I regard that assertion as being untenable in the light of the evidence of Dr Shadrin
and his colleagues. There is nothing to suggest that anything was discussed or
undertaken at the CPL offices that day that required Mr Kovtun’s presence at all, far
less his urgent travel from Hamburg. It is also important to recall in this context that
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun did not need to travel to London at all to meet Dr Shadrin.
As he made clear in his oral evidence, and repeated in his statement dated 24 June
2015, “during 2006 I was a regular visitor to Russia and could quite easily have met
them there”.239
6.261 I turn now to the telephone call made on Mr Lugovoy’s phone to C2 at 11.33 on the
morning of 1 November.
6.262 It is common ground that this call was in fact made by Mr Kovtun – in his recent
statement he said that he did so because his own phone was out of credit.240 It is
also common ground that Mr Kovtun and C2 had a discussion about meeting up.
Mr Kovtun said in his recent statement that this conversation in fact took place shortly
after his first call when C2 rang him back. That assertion is not supported by the
telephone schedule, but I do not regard this as a point of any great importance.
6.263 Beyond these facts, there are some important discrepancies in the evidence that I
have received.
235

Shadrin 14/192
Shadrin 14/192
237
Shadrin 14/193
238
Shadrin 14/195-196
239
INQ022384 (page 2)
240
INQ021208 (page 11)
236

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

6.264 C2 himself gave oral evidence to the Inquiry.241 He said that he had worked for some
years at Il Porto in the 1990s, initially as a kitchen porter and latterly as a chef de partie
(in a statement prepared after he had given evidence, C2 clarified that in his last two
years at Il Porto he worked as head chef when the other chef was absent).242 In 2000
he had left Germany, returning to his home country of Albania. He had subsequently
travelled to the UK and settled in London. He said that he had known Mr Kovtun at Il
Porto, but that they had not been friends. They had not shared a language, and had
therefore been unable to talk to each other.
6.265 C2 recalled receiving a call from Mr Kovtun on 1 November 2006. He said that at that
time he had not spoken to Mr Kovtun or had any other contact with him for six years.
C2 said that when Mr Kovtun called he was in Stratford in east London. He was in
a coffee shop helping with some menus. He said that the call had been brief. After
Mr Kovtun had introduced himself, he had said (in English) that he was in London
and had suggested meeting up. C2 had said that he was busy, but that he would call
Mr Kovtun back and meet him when he had time. C2 said that that was the end of the
call. He said that it took one minute.
6.266 C2 said that he had called Mr Kovtun back. He struggled to remember how long after
Mr Kovtun’s call this had been. He initially thought that it may have been two or three
weeks later, but he accepted that it might have been (as the telephone schedule
suggests) as soon as the next day. He said that when he did call he suggested to
Mr Kovtun that they meet up. Mr Kovtun had said that he was busy but that he would
see him later. C2 expected him to call back, but he never did.
6.267 Mr Kovtun’s explanation for and account of this episode were strikingly different.
6.268 In his recent statement, Mr Kovtun stated that the reason he had obtained C2’s
phone number and then contacted him in London was that he wanted to ask him to
come to Moscow and work as the chef in a restaurant that he and Mr Lugovoy were
planning to open. He described C2 as his “friend”, and said that he was a specialist
in Mediterranean cuisine.243 As to his communications with C2 in London, he said as
follows:244
“at 16.00-17.00 on 1 November 2006 I had a meeting planned with [C2] … who is
my friend and former colleague in the restaurant business in Hamburg to whom
Lugovoy and I wished to offer a job in a restaurant in Moscow. However, in the
presence of my acquaintance Aleksandr Shadrin, in a telephone conversation [C2]
suggested that I come to him for a meeting in a district of London far from the
centre, the name of which I cannot remember. In answer to the question I put to
Shadrin as to how to get to the district named by [C2] and how long it would take
to get there, he replied that at that time of day in London in would take 3-4 hours
to get there because of traffic congestion. Since I did not want to spend such
a long time reaching the meeting place after having flown in from Hamburg, I
agreed with [C2] that we would postpone our meeting until the following day, at a
more convenient time for both of us. [C2] agreed to ring on 2 November 2006 and
discuss the possibility of meeting and the place at which to meet.”

241

C2 24/14-39
C2 32/43-44
243
INQ021208 (page 11)
244
INQ021208 (pages 9-10)
242

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6.269 Mr Kovtun went on to say that he had not called C2 on 2 November because he did not
know when he would be free. He therefore decided that he would postpone meeting
C2 until his next visit to London. He added that he and Mr Lugovoy had subsequently
opened a restaurant in Moscow.
6.270 Mr Kovtun’s account raises many questions. As with other similar instances, the fact
that Mr Kovtun did not give oral evidence has deprived the Inquiry of the opportunity
to explore such questions with him. On this occasion, however, Mr Kovtun’s account
is so lacking in credibility, and has been so compromised by the evidence of other
witnesses, that I have concluded that it must be rejected without having heard
Mr Kovtun’s response. I have taken this view for two broad reasons.
6.271 First, the reasons that Mr Kovtun has given for seeking to contact C2 have an intrinsic
lack of credibility. It defies common sense to think that anyone planning to set up a
restaurant in Moscow would seek to recruit as its chef an Albanian living in the UK,
in particular one who did not speak Russian. And if, contrary to this, Mr Kovtun really
did think that C2 was the only man for the job, why did he give up so easily, so that he
never in fact put the proposal to him? Even if it was not possible to meet up in person
in London, Mr Kovtun could have spoken to C2 by phone.
6.272 Second, key elements of Mr Kovtun’s account have been refuted by C2 and by
Dr Shadrin, whose evidence on these matters I accept. C2 was not Mr Kovtun’s
“friend”. C2 said that they had never been friendly whilst they were working together –
for the understandable reason that they did not speak a common language – and that
by November 2006 they had not been in any form of contact for six years.245 C2 also
denied that there had ever been any planned meeting between him and Mr Kovtun at
4.00-5.00pm on 1 November 2006.246 He further denied that when Mr Kovtun called
him on 1 November he had suggested that Mr Kovtun come to meet him at a location
that was three or four hours travel away from central London. He said that he did not
suggest meeting Mr Kovtun at all, he simply told him that he was busy. And even if he
had asked Mr Kovtun to come and meet him where he was that day – in Stratford –
C2 said, and he was plainly correct in this, that Stratford is only a 45 minute journey
from central London.247 Dr Shadrin also rejected his claimed involvement in this part
of Mr Kovtun’s conversation with C2. He said:248
“I have been asked if I can recall a telephone conversation that Mr Kovtun had
whilst he was in company with Mr Lugovoy at the CPL offices on 1st November
2006. In particular I have been asked whether Mr Kovtun sought my advice about
directions to a district of London and the time it might take him to travel to that
location for another meeting including my mentioning that it would take him 3-4
hours to get there because of traffic congestion at that time of the day. I have no
specific recollections with regard to this issue. I couldn’t conceive that it would
take that long to drive anywhere in London however I do know from personal
experience that that could be the case in Moscow.”
6.273 I therefore conclude that the elaborate explanation that Mr Kovtun has given for the
call that he made to C2 at 11.33am on 1 November amounts to a tissue of lies. As
I indicated above, this conclusion will be of importance when I come to determine
whether D3’s account of his conversation with Mr Kovtun in Hamburg should be
245

C2 24/24; 24/ 27; C2 32/45
C2 32/42
247
C2 32/43
248
INQ022384 (page 3)
246

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

believed. Something else that will be of relevance to this issue is the action that
Mr Lugovoy took only a few minutes after Mr Kovtun had spoken to C2 and discovered
that he was too busy to meet that day: he telephoned Mr Litvinenko. I will return to that
telephone call shortly.

Movements of Mr Litvinenko
6.274 DI Mascall gave evidence about Mr Litvinenko’s movements on 1 November 2006.249
By drawing on what Mr Litvinenko had said to the police in interview and the statements
given by those he had met, as well as CCTV and telephone evidence, it was possible
to identify very precisely what he did and where he went that day prior to the meeting
at the Pine Bar:
a.

Mr Litvinenko spent the morning of 1 November at home. During the morning
he made arrangements by telephone for meetings later in the day. I will return to
those calls in due course

b.

Mr Litvinenko left home at about 12.30pm. He travelled into central London by
bus and tube, arriving at Oxford Circus shortly after 1.30pm. The bus on which he
travelled was subsequently identified and tested for radiation. No radiation was
detected250

c.

From Oxford Circus, Mr Litvinenko walked to Mr Attew’s office, where he had
a meeting with Mr Attew at about 2.00pm which lasted about half an hour.
Mr Litvinenko did not eat or drink anything during the meeting251

d.

On leaving Mr Attew’s office, Mr Litvinenko walked towards Piccadilly, where he
was due to meet Mr Scaramella at 3.00pm. He stopped en route at the Russian
Market near St James’ Piccadilly and spoke for about 15 minutes with his friend
Mr Tabunov252

e.

Mr Litvinenko met Mr Scaramella at Piccadilly Circus at 3.00pm. They walked
together to the itsu restaurant on Piccadilly, where they stayed for about half an
hour253

f.

Mr Litvinenko left itsu at 3.40pm and walked north towards the Millennium Hotel.
He arrived at the Millennium Hotel just before 4.00pm254

Arrangements for meeting
6.275 There was an issue on the evidence as to how, and in particular on whose initiative,
the meeting at the Pine Bar was arranged.
6.276 It has been a theme of the accounts given by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun over time
that it was Mr Litvinenko who wanted to meet them on that day. Thus, for example,
in the Declaration that he made at the British Embassy in Moscow on 23 November
249

Mascall 16/55-99; 16/141-158

Mascall 16/63-67 see paragraphs 6.21-6.24 above for discussion regarding the value of ‘negative’

findings.
251
Mascall 16/67-69; Attew 13/52-56
252
Mascall 16/69-74; Tabunov 13/115-142
253
Mascall 16/73-86; Scaramella 15/124-136
254
Mascall 16/86; 16/91-94
250

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2006, Mr Lugovoy stated, “On 1 November 2006, Mr Litvinenko called me and offered
to meet”.255 When he subsequently gave an account of that day to Bruce Burgess
at the time of the polygraph test, Mr Lugovoy made the same point in slightly more
colourful terms:
“On the day of the football match I received a call from Litvinenko who insistently
asked me to meet him. I said I did not have time, let’s meet say tomorrow. He said
No, no, we must meet today.” 256
6.277 Mr Kovtun gave a very similar account in his statement of 2 June 2015:257
“I remember that on that day, with the sense of urgency typical of him, Litvinenko
proactively telephoned Lugovoy 5-8 times on a mobile telephone saying that he
was not far away from the hotel and asking if he could come to see us. Lugovoy’s
reply to him was that there would be hardly any time to talk because he was taking
his family to a football match. In other words, it was up to Litvinenko whether he
came or not. During the telephone conversations Lugovoy and I were in Shadrin’s
office.”
6.278 Mr Litvinenko gave a very different account when he was interviewed by Detective
Inspector (DI) Hyatt in his hospital bed.
6.279 Mr Litvinenko said that the two men had planned to meet on 2 November, but that on
1 November Mr Lugovoy, “called me in the morning and said he had already arrived
and he would like to meet for a short time on the 1st”. He said that they had then
arranged to meet at about 5.00 that afternoon at the Millennium Hotel, but that later in
the day they had spoken again and the meeting had been brought forward – on that
occasion Mr Lugovoy had said, “come quicker, I am waiting for you”.258
6.280 The telephone schedule has in fact made it possible to resolve the differences between
these rival accounts.259 Put shortly, the schedule shows that the differences between
the accounts fall to be resolved in favour of Mr Litvinenko’s version of events. The
following points emerge:
a.

The very first call between Mr Lugovoy and Mr Litvinenko following Mr Lugovoy’s
arrival in London was made by Mr Lugovoy shortly after 9.00 on the evening of
31 October. The call lasted some six minutes

b.

The next communication between the two was another call made by Mr Lugovoy
to Mr Litvinenko, this time at 11.41am the next morning. This was the call made
a few minutes after Mr Kovtun’s call to C2. It is consistent with Mr Litvinenko’s
recollection of Mr Lugovoy calling him on the morning of 1 November

c.

The fact that the first two calls between the two men during this trip were made
from Mr Lugovoy to Mr Litvinenko is strongly inconsistent with the accounts given
by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun

255

INQ002058

INQ017779 (page 6)

257
INQ021208 (page 5)

258
The relevant extracts from Mr Litvinenko’s interview transcripts are discussed at Mascall 16/60-62;

16/78-82

259
INQ020044 (pages 3-5)

256

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

d. The next two relevant entries on the schedule show calls made by Mr Litvinenko
to Mr Lugovoy, one at 2.32pm and one at 2.55pm. These calls may well have
been made whilst Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were at CPL that day, and to that
extent they corroborate Mr Kovtun’s account. That said, there were only two calls
and they were both very short – the first lasted 8 seconds and the second 40
seconds. Moreover, there is good evidence that by that stage the meeting later in
the day had already been arranged, at Mr Lugovoy’s behest
e. A further call, lasting 39 seconds, was made by Mr Lugovoy to Mr Litvinenko
at 3.38pm. That time was a few minutes after Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had
returned to the Millennium Hotel and a minute or so before Mr Litvinenko left itsu
to walk up to the hotel. This would appear to corroborate Mr Litvinenko’s memory
that Mr Lugovoy rang him during the afternoon to bring the time of the meeting
forward – the occasion when he told Mr Litvinenko, “come quicker, I am waiting
for you”. (See paragraph 6.279 above)
6.281 In summary, it is Mr Litvinenko’s account that is consistent with the objective evidence
of the telephone schedule. The meeting at the Pine Bar on the afternoon of 1 November
was instigated by Mr Lugovoy, not Mr Litvinenko.
6.282 Two questions arise that are worthy of further consideration. First, why have Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun gone to such lengths to attempt to conceal what might be thought to
be a very mundane piece of information, namely that the meeting was prompted by
Mr Lugovoy and not Mr Litvinenko? And second, is there any significance in the fact
that Mr Lugovoy made the call to Mr Litvinenko suggesting that they meet up that
afternoon only a few minutes after Mr Kovtun had spoken to C2 and discovered that
he was unavailable?

Scaramella/Limarev
6.283 I have already mentioned that, immediately before he went to the Millennium Hotel on
the afternoon of 1 November, Mr Litvinenko met up with Mario Scaramella. They met
by arrangement at Piccadilly Circus and then sat in itsu on Piccadilly for half an hour
before Mr Litvinenko received the “come quicker” call from Mr Lugovoy. I heard oral
evidence about the meeting and the events that had led to it from Mr Scaramella.260
6.284 Mr Scaramella’s evidence was that he arranged to see Mr Litvinenko on 1 November
because he wanted to pass on to him information that he had received about a
possible threat to Mr Litvinenko’s safety from individuals linked to the Russian security
services. He had been provided with this information by Evgheniy Limarev, from whom
I also heard evidence. I will consider the detail of the information that Mr Scaramella
received from Mr Limarev and its possible veracity in Part 9 of this Report; but in
a nutshell Mr Scaramella said that he had had a series of communications with
Mr Limarev during October about what he understood to be an increasing threat to a
group of individuals on a Russian ‘hitlist’. The ‘targets’ included Anna Politkovskaya,
Mr Scaramella himself, Mr Guzzanti, Mr Berezovsky, Mr Zakayev and Mr Litvinenko.
Mr Scaramella said that Mr Limarev had spoken to him of the possibility that radioactive
poisons might be used against these targets.261

260
261

Scaramella 15/86-136
Scaramella 15/171-176

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6.285 Mr Scaramella had contacted Mr Litvinenko by email in the previous week, on
25 October, saying that he would be in London the following week and that he hoped
it would be possible to meet.262 The purpose of the planned trip was to attend the
annual conference of the International Maritime Organization. As I understood his
evidence, Mr Scaramella was in two minds whether to attend the conference, and his
final decision to come to London owed as much to his wish to meet Mr Litvinenko as
it did to his desire to attend the conference.263
6.286 The evidence was that Mr Scaramella flew to London on 31 October, arriving late in
the evening. He stayed that night at the Thistle Hotel in Victoria.264 He telephoned
Mr Litvinenko the next morning at 10.00265 and they arranged to meet at 3.00pm “as
usual” – the code that the two men used for a meeting at Piccadilly Circus.266
6.287 Mr Scaramella had brought with him from Italy several documents to give to
Mr Litvinenko – an excerpt from a book, an article that Mr Guzzanti had written and a
recent email from Mr Limarev about the threat from the Russian security services. On
his way to meet Mr Litvinenko on 1 November, Mr Scaramella visited an internet café
in Chinatown and looked at his emails. Another ‘security’ email from Mr Limarev had
arrived. He printed it off and added it to the documents for Mr Litvinenko.267
6.288 Mr Scaramella said that he met Mr Litvinenko at Piccadilly Circus according to plan.
He said that he had already eaten, but that as Mr Litvinenko had not had lunch they
walked together to itsu on Piccadilly.268 CCTV evidence showed them arriving at itsu
at 3.10pm.269
6.289 When he was first interviewed Mr Scaramella had provided the police with a plan
showing where he and Mr Litvinenko sat at itsu that day, and he confirmed the
accuracy of the plan to me when he gave evidence. He said that they had sat facing
each other across a table. The plan is reproduced below.

262

Scaramella 15/109-110
Scaramella 15/113; 15/159; 15/167
264
Scaramella 15/123
265
INQ020044 (page 4)
266
Scaramella 15/123-125
267
Scaramella 15/123-129
268
Scaramella 15/129-130
269
Mascall 16/74
263

167

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Scaramella’s plan of where he and Mr Litvinenko sat at itsu270

Plan showing contamination found at itsu271

270
271

INQ006199
INQ017900 (page 4)

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6.290 Mr Scaramella said that he had shown Mr Litvinenko the emails from Mr Limarev,
but that Mr Litvinenko had not taken the warnings in the emails seriously. According
to Mr Scaramella, Mr Litvinenko’s reaction had been; “it doesn’t matter, if it’s from
Evgeni, it means not credible… it’s shit if it’s from Evgeni”.272
6.291 Mr Scaramella said that he and Mr Litvinenko had parted when they left itsu.
Mr Scaramella walked back to his conference. Mr Litvinenko, as we have seen,
walked to the Millennium Hotel.
6.292 Following Mr Litvinenko’s death, Mr Scaramella’s room at the Thistle Hotel, the internet
café that he had used and the table at itsu where he had sat with Mr Litvinenko were
all tested and found to be free from contamination.273 I have referred at paragraph
6.101 to the contamination that was found in itsu on the table adjacent to that at which
Mr Litvinenko and Mr Scaramella sat on 1 November – it seems likely that that table
was contaminated on 16 October when Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun and Mr Litvinenko
sat there after the Erinys meeting. The papers that Mr Scaramella had passed to
Mr Litvinenko were also tested. They were found to bear low levels of secondary
contamination, but nothing like the levels that would have been expected had the
pages been in contact with a primary source of polonium.274

The Pine Bar
6.293 Mr Lugovoy and his party were, as I have already said, staying at the Millennium Hotel
on Grosvenor Square. Next to the reception area on the ground floor of the Millennium
Hotel is a bar called the Pine Bar. It was in the Pine Bar that Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun
and Mr Litvinenko met during the afternoon of 1 November 2006. The forensic and
other evidence strongly indicates that it was during this meeting that Mr Litvinenko
drank green tea poisoned with polonium.
6.294 The CCTV footage taken by various cameras sited in the reception area of the
Millennium Hotel established the timings relating to the meeting in the Pine Bar that
afternoon.
6.295 The footage showed Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun returning to the hotel at about
3.30pm.275 In the period of about half an hour before Mr Litvinenko arrived (during
which Mr Lugovoy made his “come quicker” phone call), there is footage of both
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun going separately into the men’s lavatories just off the
reception area.276 There is then footage of Mr Litvinenko arriving in the reception area
and speaking on his mobile phone, which is consistent with entries on the telephone
schedule showing him making two short calls to Mr Lugovoy at 3.59pm, presumably
saying that he had arrived.277
6.296 At the end of the meeting, CCTV footage shows the arrival back in the hotel of
Mr Lugovoy’s family, and Mr Lugovoy himself walking in the reception area, at shortly
after 4.30pm.278 There was no CCTV footage of Mr Litvinenko leaving the hotel, but
footage from a camera in a nearby street showed him walking away from the hotel at
272

Scaramella 15/134-135
Mascall 16/75-77; 30/155-156
274
A1 20/85-87
275
Mascall 16/87
276
Mascall 16/88-91
277
Mascall 16/92-94
278
Mascall 16/170-172
273

169

The Litvinenko Inquiry

4.39pm.279 The CCTV camera covering the approach to the lavatories off the reception
area was permanently recording and the footage does not show Mr Litvinenko entering
this area at any time.280
6.297 Mr Litvinenko was therefore in the Millennium Hotel for a little over half an hour on
1 November 2006. That was when the meeting in the Pine Bar took place.
6.298 There is no CCTV footage of the meeting because there were no CCTV cameras
in the Pine Bar in 2006. There is, though, other evidence. Mr Litvinenko told the
police what happened during his interviews in hospital and both Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun have, as we shall see, given their own accounts. I also heard evidence
from Mr Andrade, the head barman who served them that afternoon.281
6.299 Mr Andrade had a good memory of serving the three men that afternoon. He
was assisted by the bar bill, which the police had obtained as part of their initial
investigation.282 He was sure that he had served the men – he explained that the bill
bore the name of a different member of staff because he had been using someone
else’s log on card that day.
6.300 Mr Andrade recalled that Mr Lugovoy had initially approached him and asked for a
cigar, and that he and two others had subsequently sat at a table in the Pine Bar,
where Mr Andrade had served them. The bill recorded that there were three guests
in the group and that they had sat at table 1; Mr Andrade was confident that these
details were correct. A number of drinks were listed on the bill, both alcoholic and
non-alcoholic. Mr Andrade said that the men had made a number of different orders
during the time that they were in the bar. He said that he would not necessarily have
entered the details into the computer at the time the orders were made. In fact, the bill
was timed at 4.33pm, so it would appear that the details were only entered at about
the time the group were leaving the bar. He said that the bill would have been signed
by Mr Lugovoy.

279

Mascall 16/172-173
Mascall 16/157-158
281
Andrade 16/111-141
282
INQ015344
280

170

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

Plan of the Pine Bar283

6.301 One of the items on the bill was “3 Tea”. Mr Andrade recalled that this was in fact an
order for green tea with lemon and honey. He said that the tea had been made in one
large pot by his colleague behind the bar, and that he brought the pot and the cups to
the table. It was not his practice, he said, to pour tea for customers. He said that the
teapots in use in the Pine Bar at the time were made of white porcelain.
6.302 It was apparent from Mr Andrade’s evidence that at the time in question he was busy
serving a number of customers. Understandably, he paid only limited attention to the
group at Mr Lugovoy’s table. He said that the men were “very well behaved and well
dressed”. He did not overhear anything that the men said, and did not remember
anything unusual about the way they acted. In particular, he did not notice anything
283

INQ016781

171

The Litvinenko Inquiry

unusual about the tea or the way that it had been drunk. He said, “it was as normal
as any other table or any other time”. He disassociated himself entirely from various
sensational accounts that had been attributed to him in the press.
6.303 One oddity in the evidence is an entry in the telephone schedule indicating that
Mr Lugovoy made a telephone call to Mr Voronoff at 4.00pm – i.e. just the time that
Mr Litvinenko was arriving at the Pine Bar – that lasted for nearly six minutes.284
Neither Mr Litvinenko nor Mr Lugovoy referred to this call in their accounts of the
meeting. It is unexplained.
6.304 Mr Litvinenko described the meeting in the Pine Bar on a number of occasions during
the course of his interviews with DI Hyatt. The relevant sections of the transcripts
of the interviews were read in the course of DI Mascall’s evidence. In summary,
Mr Litvinenko described arriving at the Millennium Hotel and Mr Lugovoy taking him
to a table in the corner of the Pine Bar. His description of the position of the table is
consistent with the position of table 1, where Mr Andrade said they had been sitting.
Mr Litvinenko said that he had been sitting talking to Mr Lugovoy alone for some time
before Mr Kovtun joined them. In an important passage of the interview transcript,
which I have set out below, Mr Litvinenko described drinking some green tea that was
already on the table. On Mr Litvinenko’s account, this was before Mr Kovtun joined
them. Mr Litvinenko’s description of this part of the meeting was as follows:285
“There was nobody else there. He [Lugovoy] said that he was leaving for football
match now so let’s discuss things for 10-15 minutes and that’s it. So. Next day we
were due to go to Global Risk. Well… we discussed how we’re going to go there
and he said that he was looking for his interpreter… And what time we would go
there, either at ten, or ten thirty. So… There were a few mugs on the table and
there was also a tea pot, such a metal one, there was tea there. It was silver
in colour, made of silver, not silver, the legs… expensive metal. It’s a rich hotel.
Straight away a waiter came up to us… I could not see him because he came up
from the back. He asked ‘Are you going to have anything?’ I think Andrei asked,
‘Would you like anything?’ I said, ‘I don’t want anything’, (INAUDIBLE) and he said,
‘Okay well we’re going to leave now anyway so there is still some tea left here if
you want you can have some.’ And then the waiter went away or I think Andre
asked for a clean cup, and he bought it [sic]. He left and when there was a cup I
poured some tea out of the tea pot, although there was only little left on the bottom
and it made just half a cup. Maybe about 50 grams. I swallowed a several times
but it was green tea with no sugar and it was already cold by the way. I didn’t like
it for some reason, well almost cold tea with no sugar and I didn’t drink it anymore.
Maybe in total I swallowed three or four times, I haven’t even finished that cup.”
6.305 Mr Litvinenko went on to describe Mr Kovtun (who he called ‘Volodia’) coming to sit at
the table and the conversation about the next day’s planned meeting with Mr Quirke.
He said that they were talking for about 20 minutes. He mentioned a ‘tall Russian’
coming to the table, which is probably a reference to Mr Sokolenko arriving back in
the hotel with Mrs Lugovoya and the children. In describing the end of the meeting,
Mr Litvinenko said:286
“In the end [Lugovoy] looked at his watch, he said my wife is about to come. There
in the hall Andrei’s wife turned up, she was waving her hand and he said, that’s
284

INQ020044 (page 5)
INQ016582 (pages 5-7)
286
INQ016593 (page 4)
285

172

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

it, let’s go. So, Volodia and I stayed, the two of us, and he stood up, approached
his wife, Andrei, and then he brought his son, 8 years old. He is such a boy, eight
years old, wearing a jacket, he said, ‘This is Uncle Sasha, shake his hand.’ We
shook hands, and he went (INAUDIBLE). So, then we came out.”
6.306 Mr Litvinenko’s account gives rise to a number of observations.
6.307 Mr Litvinenko was plainly mistaken about the colour of the teapot. It is clear from
Mr Andrade’s evidence that the tea was served in a white porcelain pot. There is
nothing sinister about this. Given that Mr Litvinenko was undergoing lengthy interviews
whilst seriously ill in hospital, it would have been surprising if he had not made a few
mistakes. There is evidence that the teapots in the Palm Court at the Sheraton Hotel,
where Mr Litvinenko had had tea with Mr Lugovoy the previous week, were silver.287
It seems likely that on this point of detail Mr Litvinenko confused his memory of the
two occasions.
6.308 Of more significance, there are two points about the way that Mr Litvinenko described
Mr Lugovoy acting that would appear to be inconsistent with the theory that Mr Lugovoy
poisoned Mr Litvinenko with polonium at this meeting. Mr Tam QC referred to both
these points in the course of his opening address.288
6.309 First, in Mr Litvinenko’s narrative Mr Lugovoy was diffident in the extreme about
whether or not Mr Litvinenko should drink the tea. One might have expected a poisoner
to encourage his intended victim to take the concealed poison, but on Mr Litvinenko’s
account Mr Lugovoy was almost discouraging him from drinking the tea. There is
no doubt that this is the account that Mr Litvinenko intended to give – after he had
given the account that I have set out above, Detective Sergeant (DS) Hoar asked
Mr Litvinenko “… how insistent was Andre that you have a drink, or was he indifferent,
was he saying, ‘Go on, go on have some’, or didn’t he care?”. Mr Litvinenko’s answer
to this was:
“He said it like that, you know, ‘If you would like something, order something for
yourself, but we’re going to be leaving soon. If, if you want some tea then there is
some left here, you can have some of this.” 289
6.310 Second, it is striking that, on Mr Litvinenko’s account, Mr Lugovoy encouraged
Mr Litvinenko to shake hands with his eight year old son at the end of the meeting.
Is it conceivable, one asks rhetorically, that Mr Lugovoy would have done that had
he known that Mr Litvinenko, as the forensic evidence indicates, had just drunk tea
poisoned with highly radioactive polonium?
6.311 I will return to consider both these points in due course.
6.312 As I have mentioned, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have both given their own accounts
of events in the Pine Bar on various occasions since November 2006.
6.313 In fact, one of Mr Lugovoy’s earliest public comments about this meeting took the
form of declining to say anything about it. When he gave his Declaration to the
British Embassy in Moscow on 23 November 2006, Mr Lugovoy said of the Pine Bar
meeting:290
287

Mascall 12/69
Tam 1/87
289
INQ016582 (pages 8-9)
290
INQ002058
288

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

“We met in the afternoon in the Millennium Mayfair Hotel. I do not feel it necessary
to write about this meeting in detail, as the room where it took place was equipped
with high quality video equipment, which doubtless recorded the meeting.”
6.314 As DI Mascall observed, this was an odd thing for Mr Lugovoy to say.291 There were
no security cameras in the Pine Bar. And Mr Lugovoy, who was a security expert
having spent his career first in the Federal Protection Service and then running his
own security company, could reasonably be expected to have known that.
6.315 DI Mascall referred in the course of his evidence to a number of substantive accounts
that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have given over the years.292 Their accounts are
broadly consistent with that of Mr Litvinenko. For example, neither of them has ever
suggested that there was anyone else present at the meeting. On the twin questions
of whether they offered Mr Litvinenko a drink and whether he in fact drank anything
during the meeting, Mr Lugovoy’s position has generally been that he is sure that they
did not offer Mr Litvinenko a drink, but unsure whether he drank anything. Mr Kovtun’s
position has been less consistent. For example, in his interview with Der Spiegel in
early December 2006 – that is, only a few weeks after the incident – Mr Kovtun is
recorded as having stated:293
“I can’t remember that clearly today. He came into the bar 10 minutes after us,
we’d already had some alcohol, and I paid more attention to my cigar.”
That account is in marked contrast to the account contained in the statement that he
provided to the Inquiry dated 2 June 2015. In the 8½ years since speaking to Der
Spiegel, he appears to have developed a much fuller memory of events. The relevant
section of the new statement reads as follows:294
“Litvinenko came to the bar of the ‘Millennium’ hotel and ‘flopped down’ next to me
on a seat at our table. Litvinenko was in a highly excited state; he was coughing.
‘Having flopped down’ at our table, Litvinenko grabbed the teapot on the table
and, without waiting for an invitation, poured himself some tea. He gulped down
two cups of hot tea one after the other. Litvinenko then had a coughing fit, wiped
his mouth with a napkin and started to talk. In the course of the conversation he
coughed and constantly wiped his mouth with a napkin.”
6.316 The fact that Mr Kovtun has given such a dramatically different account so many
years after the event raises further serious questions about his credibility.

Contamination in the Millennium Hotel
6.317 DI Mascall gave evidence about the results of tests for contamination that were
conducted at the Millennium Hotel.295 Traces of alpha radiation were found in a large
number of places throughout the hotel. As at other scenes, many of the positive
readings were almost certainly the result of cross contamination – that is, radiation
spreading from original points of contamination as a result of the use of cleaning
equipment and items being moved from one place to another.
291

Mascall 16/158-161
Mascall 16/158-170
293
Mascall 16/165-168
294
INQ021208 (pages 5-6)
295
Mascall 16/174-187
292

174

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.318 Several of the results, however, are worthy of particular attention.
6.319 Secondary contamination was found in room 441, the room shared by Mr Lugovoy
and his wife and young son. Very much higher readings were, however, found in room
382, which was shared by Mr Kovtun and Mr Sokolenko. The highest readings were
found in the bathroom and the highest of those readings was found in a sediment
trap below the plughole in that bathroom. The expert evidence of A1 was that these
readings were only consistent with primary contamination.296 It therefore appeared that
polonium in one form or another had been poured down the plughole. The comparison
with the contamination found in room 107 at the Best Western Hotel is striking.
6.320 Very high readings, which in A1’s view were also consistent with primary contamination,
were additionally found in two places in the Pine Bar.
6.321 In the bar itself, primary contamination was found on the table which Mr Andrade
had described as table 1 (in fact, two tables pushed together) and also on one of the
chairs at the next table. It is to be noted that there was a gap of several weeks after
1 November before the Pine Bar was sealed as a crime scene, and Mr Andrade’s
evidence was that the chairs in the bar, and also on occasions the tables, were
sometimes moved around.297

296
297

A1 20/65-68
Andrade 16/140-141

175

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Plan showing contamination found in the Pine Bar298

298

INQ017911 (page 2)

176

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

6.322 The other place where primary contamination was found was on one of the Pine
Bar’s white teapots. The teapot had been given the exhibit number NJH/1. A1 gave
evidence that every teapot in the hotel had been tested, and that NJH/1 had been
the only one that bore evidence of contamination. The readings were extremely high.
The highest readings were taken on the inside of the spout, where the polonium
appeared to have bonded with tannin deposits. A1 stated that the levels and position
of the contamination found on the inside of the teapot indicated that, “at some stage
polonium… has been poured out of the spout”. She was sure of this. She said, “I think
that’s the only conclusion you can come to.” 299

The teapot300

299
300

A1 20/70-75
INQ017911 (page 6)

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

6.323 A1 also drew attention to the readings taken in the gentlemen’s lavatories situated
next to the reception area at the Millennium Hotel. It will be recalled that the evidence
of the CCTV footage was that these lavatories had been used by both Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun shortly before the Pine Bar meeting, but not by Mr Litvinenko at any
point. Testing showed raised readings on one cubicle door, a sink and a hand drier.
A1 expressed the view that the contamination was secondary rather than primary,
albeit that, relatively speaking, the secondary contamination was at “very, very high
levels”. She said that the readings could “most certainly” be consistent with secondary
transfer by hand from the source of the primary contamination found in the Pine Bar.301

Mr Litvinenko after the Pine Bar
6.324 After leaving the Millennium Hotel, Mr Litvinenko walked the short distance to
Mr Berezovsky’s offices in Down Street. In his hospital interview with the police,
Mr Litvinenko said that he had rung Mr Berezovsky in advance and told him that he
was coming – that would be consistent with a call from Mr Litvinenko to Mr Berezovsky
that is shown on the telephone schedule timed at shortly before 4.00pm.302 It would
seem that Mr Litvinenko wanted to show Mr Berezovsky some of the documents that
Mr Scaramella had given him at itsu earlier that afternoon, which he thought were
relevant to identifying the killers of Anna Politkovskaya.303
6.325 The witness statement that Mr Berezovsky gave to the police was largely consistent
with Mr Litvinenko’s account. Mr Berezovsky stated that Mr Litvinenko had called him
saying that he had papers to show him about Anna Politkovskaya’s death, and that
he had seen him using the photocopier in the offices that afternoon. Mr Berezovsky
added that Mr Litvinenko had given him some of the pages that he had copied to
read, but that he had not had time to read them – he was in meetings ahead of a trip
to South Africa, and he also wanted to get to the match at the Emirates Stadium that
301

A1 20/75-77
INQ020044 (page 5)
303
INQ016615 (pages 6-8)
302

178

Part 6 | Chapters 1 to 8 | The polonium trail – events in October and November 2006

evening.304 I also heard evidence from Vladimir Voronkov, who was Mr Berezovsky’s
office manager. He said that it was quite normal for Mr Litvinenko to pop into the
building, and he recalled seeing him there, he said at about 4.00 on the afternoon of
1 November 2006.305
6.326 Mr Litvinenko was in telephone contact with Mr Zakayev at around this time.
Mr Zakayev had driven into central London and Mr Litvinenko was arranging to get
a lift home with him. Mr Zakayev gave oral evidence to the Inquiry. He said that
Mr Litvinenko had telephoned him earlier in the day and that later he had picked him
up by arrangement near Mr Berezovsky’s offices. He, too, recalled that Mr Litvinenko
had been talking about the papers he had received from Mr Scaramella and their
possible connection to the Politkovskaya case. His evidence was that he had another
friend, named Yaragi Abdul, who was already in the front passenger seat of the car.
He said that when Mr Litvinenko got in he sat in the middle of the rear seats and
that as they drove he leaned forward to talk to them, leaning on the back of the front
seats. According to Mr Zakayev the drive back to north London was uneventful and
he dropped Mr Litvinenko off in Osier Crescent.306
6.327 Mr Abdul also gave oral evidence, which was consistent with that of Mr Zakayev.307
6.328 1 November was the anniversary of Mr and Mrs Litvinenko’s arrival in this country.
I have described in Part 3 above the evidence that Mrs Litvinenko cooked a special
meal that evening, that Mr Litvinenko subsequently fell ill, and of all that followed.
6.329 When Mr Zakayev’s car was tested for radiation, secondary contamination was found
predominantly on the rear passenger seat and on the backs of the two front seats.308
6.330 Mr Litvinenko’s house in Osier Crescent was also tested. Unsurprisingly, given that
Mr Litvinenko had on any view ingested polonium, secondary contamination was found
throughout the property. There are two points about the findings that are of particular
interest. First, there was no primary contamination found anywhere in the house.
Second, in the main the secondary contamination readings were low. A1 agreed
that these readings reflected, “pretty chronic low level contamination throughout the
house, consistent with secondary transfer by multiple individuals over time.” 309 There
was a single exception to this pattern. Very high readings were taken from the sleeve
of the blue denim jacket that Mr Litvinenko had been wearing on 1 November.310 A1
stated that, in simple terms, the readings indicated that the sleeve had been in an
area of primary contamination. She said: “Most certainly the cuff of that sleeve had
actually been in contact with quite a considerable level of contamination, and from its
position, et cetera, it would be transferred contamination”.311

Lugovoy and Kovtun after the Pine Bar
6.331 DI Mascall gave evidence about the movements of Mr Lugovoy and his party during
the remainder of their stay in London. This can be dealt with fairly shortly.
304

Berezovsky 25/15-16
Voronkov 16/187-202
306
Zakayev 26/148-151
307
Abdul 17/98-105
308
Mascall 17/58-60
309
A1 20/83
310
Mascall 17/60-65
311
A1 20/84-85
305

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

6.332 In the early evening of 1 November, the entire group went to eat at a steakhouse in
Coventry Street. After the meal, Mr Kovtun returned to the hotel whilst the others went
to watch the match at the Emirates Stadium. Following the match, the group returned
to the Millennium Hotel. DI Mascall explained that the Coventry Street steakhouse
was not tested for radiation: due to a mix-up, two other steakhouses were tested
instead. The Emirates Stadium was, however, tested and secondary contamination
was found in a block of seats that matched the evidence that had been obtained as to
the tickets purchased for Mr Lugovoy’s group.312
6.333 The telephone schedule shows a number of calls between Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Litvinenko on 2 November 2006. Several of the calls in the morning would appear
to relate to Mr Litvinenko informing Mr Lugovoy of his illness and the meeting with
Mr Quirke being cancelled. There was also a call in the afternoon and a further call in
the evening.313
6.334 Mr Lugovoy and his entire party, including Mr Kovtun, flew back to Moscow on the
following day, Friday 3 November. They flew from Heathrow on BA flight BA874, which
took off shortly after midday. The aircraft making the flight that day was G-BZHA.
When it was tested for radiation, low levels of secondary contamination were found in
the seats in row 27 where Tatiana Lugovoya had sat with her boyfriend Maxim Begak.
Considerably higher readings were associated with row 16, where Mr Lugovoy,
Mr Kovtun and Mr Sokolenko had sat together. The highest reading was taken on
seat 16F, which was Mr Kovtun’s seat.314

312

Mascall 16/211-219
INQ020044 (page 6)
314
Mascall 17/82-87
313

180

Part 7:

The closed evidence

7.1

As I have explained elsewhere in this Report, in conducting this Inquiry I have
received and considered both open and closed evidence. Indeed, the main purpose
of converting the previous inquest proceedings into a public inquiry under the Inquiries
Act 2005 was to enable me to receive such closed evidence, and to take it into account
in making my findings.

7.2

The preceding Parts of this Report contain my assessment of open evidence. This
Part is concerned with the closed evidence. In the Parts that follow I shall set out my
findings and overall conclusions, which are based on both the open and the closed
evidence.

7.3

Put very shortly, the closed evidence consists of evidence that is relevant to the
Inquiry, but which has been assessed as being too sensitive to put into the public
domain. The assessment that the material is sufficiently sensitive to warrant being
treated as closed evidence in these proceedings has been made not by me, but
by the Home Secretary. She has given effect to this decision by issuing a number
of Restriction Notices, which is a procedure specified in section 19 of the Inquiries
Act 2005. The Restriction Notices themselves, although not, of course, the sensitive
documents appended to them, are public documents. They have been published on
the Inquiry website and are also to be found at Appendix 7 to this Report.

7.4

There is a considerable quantity of closed documentary evidence in this case. I have
also received a number of closed witness statements, some of which are lengthy.

7.5

In order to assist me in the task of assessing the closed material, I held closed
hearings of the Inquiry over several days in May 2015. Attendance at those hearings
was limited to myself, Counsel and Solicitor to the Inquiry and the legal team for the
Home Secretary. The hearings took place in a government building in London. During
those hearings, as in the open hearings, I heard oral evidence from witnesses and
also received submissions from Counsel regarding documentary evidence. A number
of witnesses were called and questioned during the closed hearings. Following
the closed hearings, Counsel for the Home Secretary filed, at my request, written
submissions addressing the findings that were open to me on a number of issues
raised by the closed evidence.

7.6

I have admitted into evidence all the documents contained in the hearing bundles to
which I have referred above. I also admitted into evidence the witness statements
provided by the witnesses who were called to give evidence, which was a different
procedure to that which I adopted during the open hearings.

7.7

The following materials will form part of the appendices to this Report, although the
sensitivity of the material will of course mean that they cannot be published in the
same way as the other appendices:
a.

the closed documents (i.e. the contents of the closed hearing bundles)

b.

the closed witness statements

c.

the transcripts of the closed hearings

d.

written submissions filed in the course of the closed hearings
181

The Litvinenko Inquiry

7.8

The remaining sections of this Part of the Report will address a series of issues that
arise on the closed evidence. I will set out my analysis of the critical closed evidence
that relates to those issues, and my findings on them. I do not expect the rest of this
Part to be published, since publication of my assessment of this evidence is prohibited
by the Restriction Notices to which I have already referred.

7.9

For the same reason, it is not possible for me to list in a form that can be published
the issues that I propose to address in this Part. What I can say is that I will consider
all the issues arising from the closed evidence that I regard as significant in light of
my Terms of Reference. Those issues will include the question of whether Alexander
Litvinenko had any sort of relationship with British security and intelligence agencies,
and if so the nature and extent of that relationship. The issues will also include the
question of whether the Russian State was responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death.

7.10 Paragraph 1(ii) of the Terms of Reference requires me to “make such recommendations
as may seem appropriate”. I have made one such recommendation. The
recommendation concerns the closed evidence that I have heard. Because it would
not be possible to publish the recommendation without breaching the Restriction
Notices, it appears in this Part of the Report.

182

Part 8:

Who killed Alexander Litvinenko?

Chapter 1:

Introduction

8.1

This is the first of two Parts of the Report in which I will record my factual findings. In
this Part, I shall address the basic factual circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death – when
and where he died, the mechanism of his death, whether anyone else was involved
and if so how and who. In the next Part (Part 9), I shall make my findings regarding
any wider responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death.

8.2

The analysis in these two Parts will be informed by all the evidence that I have heard;
that is, the open evidence that I have summarised at Parts 3-6 and the closed evidence
that I have dealt with at Part 7.

183

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 2:

Medical cause of death

8.3

I received detailed evidence regarding the decline in Mr Litvinenko’s physical condition
during the last weeks of his life, and also regarding the care and treatment that he
received during that period first at Barnet General Hospital and then at University
College Hospital. I have summarised that evidence earlier in this Report, (see Part 3,
chapter 4).

8.4

Mr Litvinenko died at University College Hospital on the evening of 23 November
2006. He had suffered two cardiac arrests on 21 November, but had been successfully
resuscitated. He had lost consciousness on 23 November and at 8.51pm that evening
he suffered a third cardiac arrest from which the medical professionals were unable
to resuscitate him. Mr Down, an intensive care consultant on duty at the hospital that
evening, pronounced life extinct at 9.21pm. His view was that Mr Litvinenko had died
from multiple organ failure including progressive heart failure.

8.5

Following Mr Litvinenko’s death, his body and samples taken from it were examined
by a number of different scientists with a view to finding out as much as possible about
the way in which he died. I have detailed that evidence in Part 3, chapter 5 above.

8.6

The post mortem into Mr Litvinenko’s death was jointly conducted by two pathologists,
Dr Cary and Dr Swift. I heard evidence from both. The radioactivity present in
Mr Litvinenko’s body meant that special precautions had to be taken to protect the
health of all those present. It also meant that the pathologists were unable to conduct
all the tests that they might otherwise have undertaken. I have set all these matters
out in Part 3.

8.7

Dr Cary, with whom Dr Swift agreed, expressed himself to be “entirely satisfied” that
the cause of Mr Litvinenko’s death was acute radiation syndrome.

8.8

The pathologists reached this conclusion taking into account a number of factors.
These factors included not only their physical examination of Mr Litvinenko’s body, but
also their review of the detailed medical notes recording Mr Litvinenko’s worsening
clinical condition in the weeks before his death, as well as the results of tests performed
by other scientists on samples taken from Mr Litvinenko’s body. The pathologists also
relied on the fact that they had found no evidence of any possible alternative causes
(such as natural disease) of Mr Litvinenko’s death.

8.9

Although the pathologists were not in any doubt that Mr Litvinenko’s final heart attack
had been the result of acute radiation syndrome, they were unable to reach a firm
conclusion as to the precise mechanism by which this took place. They listed a
number of possibilities in this regard, including sepsis, liver and/or kidney failure, and
the primary effect of radiation on the heart itself.

8.10 I accept the evidence of Dr Cary and Dr Swift. I am sure that the cause of Mr Litvinenko’s
death was acute radiation syndrome.
8.11 I am fortified in reaching this conclusion by the evidence that I received from other
scientists who have conducted tests on samples taken from Mr Litvinenko’s body
in the years since his death. The scientists from whom I heard in this regard were
witness A1, Dr Harrison, Dr Gent and Dr Black.

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8.12 The evidence of the scientists, which I have summarised in Part 3 above, enables
me to make several more detailed findings regarding the medical cause of
Mr Litvinenko’s death.
8.13 First, it is clear on the evidence that the acute radiation syndrome described by the
pathologists was itself caused by the presence in Mr Litvinenko’s body of very high
levels of polonium 210. Tests conducted by Dr Harrison on tissue samples taken
from Mr Litvinenko’s body demonstrated that there had been a total intake of about
4.4GBq of polonium 210. Dr Harrison’s evidence was that this quantity far exceeded
survivability levels.
8.14 Dr Harrison, Dr Gent and Dr Black all subscribed to the opinion expressed at paragraph
25 of the joint experts’ report that, “It can be stated with certainty that Mr Litvinenko
died as a consequence of an intake of polonium-210.”
8.15 Second, the scientists were also agreed that the polonium 210 entered Mr Litvinenko’s
body either entirely or almost entirely by ingestion. If Mr Litvinenko inhaled any of the
polonium 210, this was a minor route of intake, accounting for less than 5% of the total
intake. It seems that the polonium 210 was probably ingested in the form of a soluble
compound.
8.16 Third, there is compelling evidence that Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal dose of
polonium 210 on 1 November 2006. The scientific evidence was not definitive on
this point, but I heard that the medical records of the early stages of Mr Litvinenko’s
illness, and in particular the rise in neutrophil levels noted on 3 November and
5 November, were consistent with the poisoning having taken place on 1 November.
More importantly, there is other evidence relating to the location of the poisoning (see
chapter 3 below) that provides very strong evidence that it took place on 1 November.
8.17 In summary, I make the following findings regarding the medical cause of Mr Litvinenko’s
death. I am sure of each of these matters.
a. Mr Litvinenko died at 9.21pm on 23 November 2006 in University College Hospital,
having suffered a cardiac arrest from which medical professionals were unable
to resuscitate him
b. The cardiac arrest was the result of an acute radiation syndrome from which
Mr Litvinenko was suffering
c. The acute radiation syndrome was caused by Mr Litvinenko ingesting
approximately 4.4GBq of polonium 210 on 1 November 2006
8.18 To use everyday language, I conclude that Mr Litvinenko was fatally poisoned with
polonium 210 on 1 November 2006.

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Chapter 3: Where did Alexander Litvinenko
ingest polonium 210 on
1 November 2006?
8.19 I am sure that Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal dose of polonium 210 whilst drinking
tea in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel during the afternoon of 1 November 2006.
8.20 I have relied upon the following evidence in making this finding.
8.21 It is absolutely clear that Mr Litvinenko went to the Pine Bar on the afternoon of
1 November. Apart from his evidence to that effect, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have
confirmed that they met him there then, and there is also Closed Circuit Television
(CCTV) footage which supports this.
8.22 It is equally clear that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had ordered tea that afternoon, and
that there was a teapot on the table when Mr Litvinenko arrived.1
8.23 Mr Litvinenko said that he drank some of this tea, and I accept that he did so.
8.24 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have given inconsistent accounts about what happened in
the Pine Bar and on other matters (see paragraphs 8.82 – 8.91 below). But the theme
of their accounts on this issue has been more that they did not offer or pour any tea
for Mr Litvinenko, rather than that he did not drink any tea at all.2
8.25 The forensic evidence shows that the Pine Bar was heavily contaminated with
polonium 210. The contamination was focused on the table where Mr Litvinenko sat
with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun on 1 November 2006. The highest readings, which
were consistent with primary contamination, were taken on the table itself and on the
inside of one of the teapots used in the Pine Bar. A1’s evidence was that the readings
on the inside of the teapot demonstrated that, “at some stage polonium… has been
poured out of the spout”. She said she was sure of this (see paragraph 6.322).
8.26 It is equally important to note that radiation tests were conducted at all the other
places where Mr Litvinenko went that day. Although some secondary contamination
was found at some of these locations (I shall return to these results in due course),
the Pine Bar was the only location of those visited by Mr Litvinenko on 1 November
where primary contamination was found. More than that, of course, it was found on
the table in the Pine Bar where Mr Litvinenko had sat whilst drinking tea, and on the
inside of one of the teapots used in the Pine Bar.
8.27 This evidence all points to the conclusion that Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal dose
of polonium 210 whilst drinking tea in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel during the
afternoon of 1 November 2006, and I make a finding to that effect.

1
2

Andrade 16/111-141; INQ015344
Mascall 16/161-170

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Chapter 4:

Was there an earlier ingestion of

polonium 210?

8.28 I have referred above to what the scientific tests conducted on Mr Litvinenko’s body
can tell us about the fatal dose of polonium 210 that he received on 1 November 2006.
8.29 There was a further dimension to this scientific evidence. Tests conducted on
Mr Litvinenko’s hair demonstrated that he had ingested polonium 210 on not one
but two occasions. The fatal dose on 1 November 2006 was the second of the two
occasions. The first dose was much smaller, and had been ingested by Mr Litvinenko
several days earlier.
8.30 I have summarised the scientific evidence relating to the first dose of polonium 210 in
Part 3 of this Report at paragraphs 3.182 – 3.184. It is to be noted that the first intake
was estimated to be 100 times smaller than the second, fatal, dose.
8.31 I am sure that Mr Litvinenko did receive an earlier, smaller, dose of polonium 210
prior to the fatal dose on 1 November 2006. The scientific evidence in this regard is
compelling.
8.32 This gives rise to further questions. When and where did Mr Litvinenko receive the
earlier dose? Was it connected to the fatal dose?
8.33 The scientists were clear that they were unable to provide a precise answer to
the ‘when’ question. They were reliant in this regard on estimating time periods by
reference to Mr Litvinenko’s hair growth. But they had no independent evidence as
to how fast his hair grew, and the exercise was further complicated by the possibility
that the rate of growth may have been affected by the first dose of polonium 210.
The best that they could do, therefore, was to offer probable time brackets. The view
of Dr Harrison and A1 was that the earlier intake had probably taken place between
18 October and 23 October 2006. Dr Black, who conducted his analysis on a
different basis, estimated that the earlier intake had taken place between 14 and
18 October 2006.
8.34 This evidence, however, does not stand alone.
8.35 There is forensic evidence that primary contamination was found on the boardroom
table at Erinys close to where Mr Litvinenko was sitting at a meeting on 16 October,
a meeting also attended by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun. The forensic evidence also
shows primary contamination in the room at the Best Western Hotel in which the two
men had prepared for the meeting, and in which Mr Lugovoy slept that night.
8.36 I also heard evidence about Mr Litvinenko’s physical health on that day. Marina
Litvinenko said that her husband had had a sudden and unusual episode of sickness
on the night of 16 October. However, Mr Kovtun’s evidence (which Marina Litvinenko
disputed), was that Mr Litvinenko had told him on 16 October, shortly after the meeting
at Erinys, that he had been unwell for the previous 24 hours, and that he had vomited
the night before.
8.37 At this stage of the analysis, I will limit myself to making the following observations.
8.38 First, the forensic evidence is highly suggestive of a link between Mr Litvinenko’s first
intake of polonium 210 and the meeting at Erinys on 16 October 2006.
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8.39 Second, although that date is at one end of the combined date ranges provided by the
scientists, the dating exercise is an uncertain one for the reasons that I have explained
above. It was not my understanding that a finding that the first intake took place on
16 October would be positively inconsistent with any of the scientific evidence.
8.40 Third, I am disinclined to place any weight in this regard on the evidence as to
Mr Litvinenko’s illness on the night of 16 October. I emphasise that this is not because
I accept the evidence of Mr Kovtun (my findings on the credibility of his evidence are
set out below), nor because I do not believe what Mrs Litvinenko has said. My reason
for caution on this point lies in the scientific evidence. The view of Dr Harrison and
others was that so called ‘prodromal symptoms’ i.e. diarrhoea and vomiting – were
not typical symptoms of internal alpha radiation poisoning. They were cautious as to
whether the similar symptoms that Mr Litvinenko had suffered after the (much larger)
second dose of polonium 210 had been caused by it.3 Given this uncertainty, it is
better, in my view, to leave the question of Mr Litvinenko’s physical symptoms on or
about 16 October entirely out of the account for these purposes.
8.41 In summary:
a. I am sure that Mr Litvinenko did receive a first, smaller, dose of polonium 210
some time before the fatal dose on 1 November 2006
b. The forensic evidence suggests that the earlier dose is likely to have been
received at the meeting at Erinys on 16 October 2006, and a finding to this effect
would not be inconsistent with the scientific evidence

3

INQ016745 (page 9)

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Chapter 5: Did Alexander Litvinenko poison
himself?
8.42 One of the possible explanations for Mr Litvinenko’s death that has been aired in
public in the time since 2006 is that he poisoned himself by accident, perhaps in
the course of handling illicitly obtained polonium 210. Mr Lugovoy has referred to
this possibility during press interviews, as have other commentators. Another theory,
which was expressly raised at the early stages of the inquest proceedings by those
then representing Mr Lugovoy, is that Mr Litvinenko deliberately poisoned himself with
polonium 210 in order to commit suicide.
8.43 It is plainly important that I examine and make findings on each of these two
suggestions.

Accident
8.44 DI Mascall gave evidence to the Inquiry about the public comments that Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun have made about Mr Litvinenko’s death since 2006. One such comment
was reported by the Voice of Russia in 2009. Mr Lugovoy is reported as having said:
“It cannot be excluded that [Mr Litvinenko’s death] was simply an accident for
Litvinenko himself. In short, everything is possible since he had been linked to
radioactive materials, and there could have been a leak and he had poisoned
himself of an accident.” 4
8.45 As I have said, other commentators have advanced a similar theory – i.e. that
Mr Litvinenko had been involved in dealing with polonium 210, and that he might have
poisoned himself with it accidentally.
8.46 There are five reasons why, in my view, this suggestion is wholly without merit.
8.47 First, there was no evidence from any of the witnesses who appeared before me that
Mr Litvinenko had ever been involved in dealing with radioactive materials – either in
the months before his death, or, for that matter, ever. Marina Litvinenko dismissed the
possibility,5 and Mr Reilly said that he had no knowledge of any such dealings.6
8.48 Second, the pattern of the radioactive contamination found at Mr Litvinenko’s house
was inconsistent with this theory. It will be recalled that, although there was widespread
contamination at the house, it was almost all low level secondary contamination, the
single exception being the sleeve of the jacket that Mr Litvinenko wore on 1 November
2006. If Mr Litvinenko had been in the habit of dealing with leaky containers of polonium
210 in the weeks before his death, a different pattern of radiation would surely have
been found. Had Mr Litvinenko been handling polonium 210 at his house, then one
would have expected to find primary contamination there. Even if he had handled the
substance away from his house, one would have expected that high readings would
have been taken from more than one item of his clothing.
8.49 It is also of significance in this regard that the contamination readings taken at
Boris Berezovsky’s offices were all relatively low. The highest reading there was taken
4

Mascall 22/135
Marina Litvinenko 4/8-9
6
Reilly 10/61
5

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

from a sofa on which Mr Lugovoy had sat. It has been suggested that Mr Berezovsky
was involved with Mr Litvinenko’s alleged dealings in polonium 210. The contamination
evidence does not support that theory.
8.50 The third point relates to the route by which the polonium 210 entered Mr Litvinenko’s
body. As I have explained above, the scientists were agreed that most, if not all, of
the polonium 210 was ingested by Mr Litvinenko, probably in the form of a soluble
compound. In lay terms, Mr Litvinenko drank the polonium 210 dissolved in a liquid.
Simply as a matter of common sense, it seems unlikely to me that Mr Litvinenko could
have accidentally drunk a liquid containing polonium 210. Inhaling the substance by
accident would have been more plausible, but this was ruled out as a route of entry
for all but perhaps 5% of the fatal dose.
8.51 The fourth point concerns Mr Litvinenko’s conduct during the three week period of
his illness prior to his death. It is to be remembered that Mr Litvinenko’s doctors
were uncertain as to the cause of his painful and debilitating symptoms until only a
few hours before his death. If Mr Litvinenko had poisoned himself accidentally whilst
handling a leaky container of polonium 210, he would have had a good idea of the
cause of his illness. Had that been the case, it is inconceivable, in my view, that
Mr Litvinenko would not have said something about this either to the police or to one
of his doctors, if only to improve the chances of his life being saved.
8.52 Finally, the ‘leaky container’ theory is of course at odds with the findings that I have
already made as to the place and circumstances in which Mr Litvinenko received the
fatal dose. As I have found, Mr Litvinenko was poisoned by drinking contaminated tea
from a teapot in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel. The hypothetical ‘leaky package’
must remain just that. There is no evidence to support it, and, for the reasons that
I have set out, the entire hypothesis is inconsistent with the facts that have been
established from the evidence.

Suicide
8.53 I can deal with this point more shortly.
8.54 On the findings that I have already made, this theory must involve Mr Litvinenko
deliberately contaminating the tea in the teapot at the Pine Bar with polonium 210,
and then pouring and drinking it.
8.55 As I have said above, there is no evidence that Mr Litvinenko had access to polonium
210 prior to his death.
8.56 More importantly, there is no evidence at all that Mr Litvinenko was feeling at all
suicidal at the time in question. I heard evidence from his wife and from a number of
his close friends, none of whom thought it was remotely plausible that Mr Litvinenko
might have taken his own life. I have summarised their evidence on this issue at
Part 5, chapter 8. Mr Litvinenko was deeply committed to his wife and son. He was
not at all depressed.
8.57 I would only add that Mr Litvinenko survived for three weeks after ingesting the fatal
dose of polonium 210. If he really had poisoned himself in order to end his life, he
would surely have said something to his wife, or the police, or one of his friends about
what he had done.

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Conclusion
8.58 For the reasons set out above, I am sure that Mr Litvinenko did not die as a result of
either accidentally or deliberately poisoning himself with polonium 210.
8.59 Further evidence against both of these theories may be found in the strong evidence,
as I consider it to be, that supports a third explanation for Mr Litvinenko’s death,
namely that he was deliberately poisoned by others. It is to that issue that I shall now
turn.

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Chapter 6:

Who administered the poison?

Introduction
8.60 I have found that Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal dose of polonium 210 when he
drank tea in the Pine Bar on 1 November 2006. I have also found that he did not
put the polonium 210 into the teapot himself – either by accident, or as a deliberate
means of committing suicide.
8.61 There is an obvious question that arises. If Mr Litvinenko did not put the polonium 210
into the teapot that afternoon, who did?
8.62 The Metropolitan Police officers who have investigated this case believe that
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko on 1 November. I heard evidence
that warrants for the arrests of both men have been issued.7 Mr Horwell, in his closing
submissions made on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service, asserted that:
“the evidence points resolutely to Lugovoy and Kovtun and no one else as having
administered the poison which killed Litvinenko.” 8
8.63 I stress, and it is of the first importance, that I have analysed this issue, like all others
in this Inquiry, in an entirely independent and dispassionate manner. Although I have
had the great advantage of being able to consider the evidence gathered by the
Metropolitan Police, their views as to where that evidence points have been accorded
no special weight. I have approached the evidence with an open mind. I have
considered it objectively. I have drawn my own conclusions as to what the evidence
shows.
8.64 It will be helpful for me to summarise at this stage the findings that I have made.
8.65 I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun placed the polonium 210 in the teapot at the
Pine Bar on 1 November 2006.
8.66 I am sure that they did this with the intention of poisoning Mr Litvinenko.
8.67 I am sure that the two men had made an earlier attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko, also
using polonium 210, at the Erinys meeting on 16 October 2006.
8.68 I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun knew that they were using a deadly poison
(as opposed to, for example, a ‘truth drug’ or a sleeping draught), and that they
intended to kill Mr Litvinenko. I do not believe, however, that they knew precisely what
the chemical they were handling was, or the nature of all of its properties.

Scientific evidence indicating Lugovoy and Kovtun’s
involvement
8.69 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have never disputed either (a) that they met Mr Litvinenko
in the Pine Bar on the afternoon of 1 November 2006; or (b) that they ordered the tea
which Mr Litvinenko says he drank when he met them there. There is, in any event,
very clear independent evidence on both of these points (see Part 6, chapter 8).
7
8

Mascall 8/2-4
Horwell 33/61

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8.70 Given the findings that I have made above regarding the time and place at which, and
the means by which, Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal dose of polonium 210, these
matters are clearly sufficient to raise a question as to the possible involvement of
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun in the poisoning. On their own, however, these facts do
not establish anything more than that.
8.71 I have referred above to the forensic evidence of polonium 210 contamination found
in the Pine Bar in the context of my finding that the Pine Bar was the location of
Mr Litvinenko’s fatal poisoning. Similarly, it is the forensic evidence of polonium 210
contamination found in other places associated with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun that I
regard as the most important evidence of their responsibility for the poisoning. There
are three points that I make in this regard.
8.72 First, the extensive testing for radiation throughout the Millennium Hotel only revealed
one area of primary contamination apart from those found in the Pine Bar. That was in
the plughole of the room occupied by Mr Kovtun and Mr Sokolenko.
8.73 Second, secondary contamination was found in Mr Lugovoy’s bedroom and also (at
particularly high levels) in the gentlemen’s lavatories close to the Pine Bar. CCTV
footage shows that both Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun visited those lavatories prior to
the meeting with Mr Litvinenko. The same footage demonstrates that Mr Litvinenko
did not visit those lavatories during his time in the hotel.
8.74 Third, these findings form part of a wider pattern. Primary polonium 210 contamination
was also found in the bathroom of room 107 of the Best Western Hotel, where
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun changed prior to their meeting at Erinys on 16 October
2006, and where Mr Lugovoy slept that night, and also in the bathroom of room 848
of the Sheraton Hotel, where Mr Lugovoy stayed between 25 and 27 October 2006.
Secondary contamination was also discovered, as I have recounted in Part 6, in a
large number of places associated with the two men during this period.
8.75 It will be recalled that A1 gave evidence to the effect that a finding of primary
contamination was only consistent with the surface in question being exposed directly
to a source of polonium 210. In practical terms, this means that polonium 210 must
have been handled in each of the three hotel bedrooms to which I have referred above.
This amounts to highly compelling evidence of a connection between Mr Lugovoy,
Mr Kovtun and the (extremely rare) isotope with which Mr Litvinenko was poisoned,
including such evidence found in the very hotel where the poisoning took place.
8.76 I consider that this evidence on its own would have been sufficient to satisfy me
that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s poisoning,
and in particular that one or other or both of them handled the polonium 210, which
was used to kill Mr Litvinenko, in the bathroom of room 382 of the Millennium Hotel
(i.e. Mr Kovtun’s room).
8.77 But there is further evidence to consider, to which I shall next turn.
8.78 Before doing so, there is one further point to make about the pattern of primary
contamination found in the hotel bedrooms. There is a striking similarity as to the
location of the primary contamination found in room 382 of the Millennium Hotel and
in room 107 of the Best Western Hotel. In both places, primary contamination was
found inside the plughole in the bathroom. The natural inference is that polonium 210
had been poured down the sink. Since this appears to have happened in both rooms,
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it is logical to assume that it was part of a routine, and in all the circumstances it is
reasonable to assume that the routine was connected with the preparation and/or the
disposal of polonium 210.
8.79 I have already expressed my view that room 382 of the Millennium Hotel was used to
handle the polonium 210 that killed Mr Litvinenko. Given the similar findings in room
107 of the Best Western Hotel, it is a reasonable assumption that something similar
occurred there. I have referred above to the scientific evidence which shows that
Mr Litvinenko was poisoned on an occasion prior to 1 November 2006, and to other
evidence that tends to suggest that this occasion might have been the Erinys meeting
on 16 October. Given, additionally, (a) my finding that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned
on 1 November by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun; and (b) the similarity between the
findings of primary contamination at room 107 of the Best Western Hotel and room
382 of the Millennium Hotel, I make the further findings that Mr Litvinenko was also
poisoned with polonium 210 by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun at the Erinys meeting on
16 October 2006, and that the polonium 210 used on that occasion was prepared
and/or disposed of in the bathroom of room 107 of the Best Western Hotel.
8.80 For completeness, I note that the primary contamination found in the bathroom of
room 848 of the Sheraton Hotel was found not in the sink, but in the bin. Primary
contamination was also found on towels in the hotel laundry. It is perhaps significant
in this regard that there is no other evidence of an attempt being made to poison
Mr Litvinenko during this period (for example, no primary contamination was found in
the Palm Court bar at the hotel, where Mr Litvinenko appears to have met Mr Lugovoy
on two occasions during the latter’s stay). There is insufficient evidence for me to
make any findings about what happened at the Sheraton Hotel, but I observe that the
primary contamination found there was consistent with Mr Lugovoy having spilled the
polonium 210 in the course of handling it, and then mopping it up with the towels that
were subsequently found in the laundry.

Other evidence indicating Lugovoy and Kovtun’s involvement
8.81 I turn to consider the other evidential matters that I consider support my findings that
Mr Litvinenko was poisoned by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun.

Accounts given by Lugovoy and Kovtun
8.82 Neither Mr Lugovoy nor, in the end, Mr Kovtun, gave oral evidence to the Inquiry.
However, both have made public statements concerning the case since 2006 and
Mr Kovtun provided the Inquiry with a witness statement. I admitted this material in
evidence, and have referred to it extensively.
8.83 I should make it clear that I do not regard the simple fact that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
did not give evidence before me as evidence that in itself supports the proposition that
they poisoned Mr Litvinenko. There was some debate about this matter, but in the
end all core participants agreed that I should not draw any adverse inferences from
the fact that neither man has given evidence before me (see Appendix 1, paragraph
123). I do not do so.
8.84 That said, as I have observed on a number of occasions during my review of the
evidence, the fact that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun did not give oral evidence means
that I am left without answers to questions that they would have been asked had they
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attended. Put another way, I do not have their explanations for inconsistencies or
gaps in their accounts. This may lead to me making findings against them that I would
not have made had they given their explanation. There is no avoiding that.
8.85 There is a further, related point. There were some serious deficiencies in the evidence
from Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun that was available to me. I have referred to these
deficiencies during my review of the evidence and it will suffice here to give four
examples.
8.86 First, there are some striking anomalies in the accounts that both men have given of
their meeting with Mr Litvinenko on 1 November. Both men have stated, in insistent
terms, that it was Mr Litvinenko who made the first contact on that day, and asked to
meet up. Mr Litvinenko, on the other hand, said that Mr Lugovoy had telephoned him
and suggested the meeting. It is plain from the telephone schedule that Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun were wrong about this (see paragraphs 6.275 – 6.282).
8.87 Mr Lugovoy initially declined to give an account of the meeting at the Pine Bar
because, he said, the room had been covered by, “high quality video equipment,
which doubtless recorded the meeting”. In fact, there was no such video equipment in
the Pine Bar, and it is not credible that Mr Lugovoy, as a security professional, could
have mistakenly thought that there was. One is left, therefore, with the conclusion that
he was lying about this (see paragraph 6.315).
8.88 Mr Kovtun told a German newspaper in December 2006 (i.e. a few weeks after the
meeting in the Pine Bar) that he did not have a clear memory of the meeting and that
at the time he had paid more attention to his cigar. More than eight years later, the
statement that he provided to the Inquiry contained a detailed account of the meeting,
including an assertion that Mr Litvinenko “grabbed the teapot on the table and, without
waiting for an invitation, poured himself some tea” and that he “gulped down two
cups of hot tea one after the other … [and] then had a coughing fit” (see paragraphs
6.318 – 6.319). There is no reason at all to think that Mr Kovtun’s memory had
improved dramatically so many years after the event. The only logical conclusion is
that he was lying on one or other (or both) of the two occasions.
8.89 Second, in the years since 2006 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have given markedly
different accounts of a conversation that one or other of them is supposed to have
had with Mr Litvinenko on 17 October 2006. I have set out the various accounts
that they have given at paragraphs 6.144 – 6.149 above. A common theme of these
accounts is the claim that Mr Litvinenko was trying to engage the two men in a
blackmail scheme. However, the discrepancies between the accounts (for example,
where the conversation took place, the target of the intended blackmail, and to whom
Mr Litvinenko was speaking) are so great that they cannot be explained by confusion
or loss of memory. In my view, they are only consistent with a deliberate attempt to
mislead.
8.90 Third, the explanations that Mr Kovtun has given as to the purpose of his travel to
London on 1 November are profoundly unsatisfactory. For the reasons that I have
explained at paragraphs 6.245 – 6.250 above, this appears to be another example
of Mr Kovtun providing misleading information about an important issue in the case.
8.91 The deficiencies in the accounts that have been provided by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun,
of which the matters set out above are only examples, lead to two conclusions. First,
I do not regard the evidence that the two men have given about these events as
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credible, and I will not accept any part of their accounts in the absence of corroboration
from a reliable source of evidence. Second, and more importantly, I make a positive
finding that both men have deliberately attempted to mislead the recipients of the
various accounts they have given regarding crucial issues in the case. I infer that they
have done so in order to conceal their own actions. These findings support my overall
conclusion that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko.

Timing of travel bookings
8.92 The three key events that took place in this case during October and early November
2006 were the three visits to London that I have described in Part 6 above – the first
visit made by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun, the second by Mr Lugovoy alone and the
third by a larger group including both Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun.
8.93 As well as hearing evidence as to what took place during these visits, I also heard
evidence about the travel arrangements that had been made (e.g. flight and hotel
bookings) for each visit.
8.94 There are two points that emerged from this evidence that are worthy of mention.
8.95 First, it was striking that the timing of the first visit seemed to turn on Mr Kovtun’s
availability to travel. I have touched on this issue above, at paragraph 6.64.
8.96 Mr Lugovoy was the senior of the two men in terms of their business relationships.
His visa had been renewed in the summer, and he was therefore able to travel to the
United Kingdom (UK) whenever he wished. It is notable, therefore, that the bookings
for the flights and hotel rooms, which were both made in the days after Mr Kovtun’s
UK visa was issued on 5 October 2006, appear to have been held up until it was
known when Mr Kovtun would be able to make the trip. Although Mr Kovtun attended
business meetings when the trip to London did take place, there was nothing in the
evidence that I heard about those meetings to suggest that his attendance was in any
way essential.
8.97 I have already made a finding that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko
with polonium 210 at their meeting in the Erinys boardroom on 16 October 2006,
during this first trip. The evidence about the timing of the bookings is at the very least
consistent with this finding, and I consider that it adds some weight to it. The evidence
suggests that the true purpose of the trip was not to attend a series of business
meetings at which Mr Kovtun would be no more than a mute observer, but rather, as I
have found, to attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko – an operation in which Mr Kovtun was
intended to play, and did play, a key role.
8.98 The second point concerns the timing of the decision that Mr Kovtun should join the
third trip to London. This is a point that is addressed at paragraphs 6.188 – 6.189
above. In the statement that he provided to the Inquiry, Mr Kovtun suggested that he
had not even contemplated flying to London on 1 November to join Mr Lugovoy and
the others until 30 October (see discussion at paragraph 6.244 above). That was not
true – the booking for his return flight from London to Moscow had been made several
days earlier on 27 October. I am satisfied that that was the time at which the decision
was made that Mr Kovtun would go to London.
8.99

That date of 27 October was midway through the trip that Mr Lugovoy made to
London alone, when he stayed in room 848 of the Sheraton Hotel. I am satisfied that
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Mr Lugovoy had a quantity of polonium 210 with him on this occasion. As I have said,
the forensic evidence is of primary contamination both in the bin in the bathroom
of room 848, and also on two towels in the hotel laundry, which I am satisfied must
have come from room 848. One possible explanation for the pattern of contamination
is that Mr Lugovoy spilled the polonium 210 and mopped it up with the towels, or
perhaps simply poured it into the bin. There is no evidence that there was any attempt
to poison Mr Litvinenko during this trip, despite the fact that Mr Lugovoy met him twice
in the Palm Court bar of the Sheraton.
8.100 Although there is insufficient evidence for me to make any positive finding on the
point, I regard it as possible that this pattern of events at the Sheraton explains why
the decision was taken, on 27 October, that Mr Kovtun should travel to London on
1 November. It is at least possible that the decision was taken, in light of events at the
Sheraton, that Mr Lugovoy would need Mr Kovtun’s assistance on the next attempt to
poison Mr Litvinenko, and that is why the return flight was booked for him on that day.
8.101 I do not suggest that this evidence relating to the timing of travel arrangements is at
the centre of this case, but it adds to the picture. And it offers some support for the
conclusion that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko.

Did Mr Kovtun tell D3 that he was planning to poison
Mr Litvinenko?
8.102 I now turn to a part of the case that is, on any view, of considerable significance. I
refer to the evidence concerning Mr Kovtun’s conversation with D3 in Hamburg on the
evening of 30 October 2006, and his subsequent attempts to contact C2.
8.103 I have set out the evidence relating to these issues at some length above – see in
particular paragraphs 6.205 – 6.225 and 6.261 – 6.273.
8.104 There is no doubt that Mr Kovtun met D3 in Hamburg that evening. There is also no
doubt that on the following day, 31 October 2006, Mr Kovtun obtained C2’s phone
number by telephoning D6, who got the number from D7 after he had spoken to
C2. There is, finally, no doubt that Mr Kovtun telephoned C2 the day after that, from
London, using Mr Lugovoy’s phone.
8.105 There are two, connected, issues in respect of which I must make findings. The first
is whether D3 has told the truth about what Mr Kovtun said to him that evening. In
particular, did Mr Kovtun tell D3 that he had “a very expensive poison” and that he
needed a cook “to put poison in Litvinenko’s food or drink”? Second, what was the
reason for Mr Kovtun calling C2 in London on 1 November 2006?
8.106 I have come to the conclusion that Mr Kovtun did tell D3 that he was looking for a cook
to assist in poisoning Mr Litvinenko, and that in telephoning C2 he was attempting –
unsuccessfully, as it turned out – to put that plan into operation.
8.107 The primary basis on which I have reached this conclusion is the utterly unconvincing
explanation that Mr Kovtun has given for making the call to C2 on 1 November. I have
analysed that explanation, together with Mr Kovtun’s account of his conversations
with C2 and Dr Shadrin, in some detail at paragraphs 6.261 – 6.273 above. I do
not propose to go back over what I have said there, save to repeat that, despite
not having had the advantage of hearing Mr Kovtun give oral evidence, I am quite
satisfied that the explanation that he has given for making contact with C2, together
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with his account of conversations with C2 and Dr Shadrin, is a total fabrication. The
term that I used above, which I repeat, is that his story is a tissue of lies.
8.108 There must be a reason why Mr Kovtun has fabricated this elaborate story about
wishing to employ C2 to work in a restaurant in Moscow, and being unable to see
him because Dr Shadrin told him that Stratford was 3-4 hours drive from central
London. That reason is not difficult to deduce. I am satisfied that Mr Kovtun did wish
to enlist C2 as an accomplice in the plans that he and Mr Lugovoy were making to
poison Mr Litvinenko. I am satisfied that Mr Kovtun did tell D3 in the course of their
conversation in Hamburg that this was why he wished to make contact with C2, and
that D3 has told the truth about that conversation. And I am satisfied that Mr Kovtun
has fabricated the story about wishing to employ C2 – as well as his evidence about
D3’s unreliability – in order to conceal that truth.
8.109 There are three other matters that fortify me in these conclusions.
8.110 First, there is the forensic evidence, to which I have referred above, that demonstrates
that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were involved in a series of attempts to poison
Mr Litvinenko. Mr Kovtun’s boast that he was planning to poison Mr Litvinenko with “a
very expensive poison” may have appeared outlandish to D3, but there is a wealth of
independent evidence before me that shows that that is exactly what he was planning
to do.
8.111 Second, my findings that, by the time Mr Kovtun spoke to D3 on 30 October, he and
Mr Lugovoy had already made one, and perhaps two, unsuccessful attempts to kill
Mr Litvinenko are also of some significance here. Their previous lack of success makes
it more plausible that they wished to alter their methods and enlist some support.
8.112 Third, it is impossible to overlook the fact that only a few minutes after Mr Kovtun had
phoned C2 on Mr Lugovoy’s phone and discovered that he was too busy to meet that
day, 1 November, a call was made from the same phone to Mr Litvinenko. The call
to C2, which lasted one minute and 14 seconds, was timed at 11.33am. The call to
Mr Litvinenko, which lasted nearly five minutes, was timed at 11.41am (see paragraph
6.251(e) above).
8.113 The apparent link between the call to C2 and the call to Mr Litvinenko is highly
suggestive.
8.114 As I have recounted above, Mr Litvinenko told the police that Mr Lugovoy had
telephoned him during the morning of 1 November and said that, “he would like to meet
for a short time” later that day. Mr Litvinenko said that it was during this conversation
that the meeting at the Pine Bar was arranged. I am satisfied that Mr Litvinenko’s
account is accurate, and that the call in question was the call recorded as having been
made to Mr Litvinenko from Mr Lugovoy’s phone at 11.41am. I regard Mr Lugovoy’s
claim that in fact Mr Litvinenko called him and asked to meet, which is inconsistent
with the telephone evidence, as a deliberate attempt to mislead.
8.115 Further, I think it likely that Mr Lugovoy called Mr Litvinenko at 11.41am and suggested
a meeting later that day in direct consequence of the discussion that Mr Kovtun had
had with C2 a few minutes earlier. Once it had become apparent to Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun that they would not get any help from C2, at least not in the short term,
they decided to make another attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko themselves. Their plan,

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which they subsequently put into effect, was to make this attempt in the Pine Bar of
the Millennium Hotel.
8.116 In summary on this point, I am satisfied that Mr Kovtun did tell D3 in the course of
their discussions in Hamburg that he was planning to poison Mr Litvinenko, and that
he telephoned C2 on the morning of 1 November in an attempt to enlist his support in
carrying out this plan.
8.117 For the reasons that I have set out above, this finding is both consistent with and strongly
corroborative of the other evidence that points to the conclusion that Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko.

The duration of Lugovoy’s operation against Mr Litvinenko
8.118 I have referred at paragraphs 4.148 – 4.150 above to the evidence about the first
meeting in London between Mr Lugovoy and Mr Litvinenko. As I have said, it appears
that this meeting took place in October 2004. There was a divergence between the
evidence of Mr Lugovoy and Mr Litvinenko as to which of them had made the first
contact. In light of my general findings regarding Mr Lugovoy’s credibility, as well as
my finding as to his involvement in poisoning Mr Litvinenko, I am satisfied that, as
Mr Litvinenko said, it was Mr Lugovoy who first contacted him in 2004, and not the
other way around. I would add that I regard it as entirely possible that Mr Lugovoy was
already at that stage involved in a plan to target Mr Litvinenko, perhaps with a view
to killing him.

Lugovoy and Kovtun’s conduct since November 2006
8.119 I have already made it clear that I do not regard the fact that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
have not given evidence to the Inquiry as something that amounts in itself to evidence
of their responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death.
8.120 However, I did hear evidence on a number of other matters relating to Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun’s conduct since November 2006 that I do regard as supportive of my
finding that they poisoned Mr Litvinenko.
8.121 I have referred above (see paragraph 4.73) to the 2008 El Pais interview in which
Mr Lugovoy said that he believed Mr Litvinenko to have been “a traitor” and also,
a little later, referred to Oleg Gordievsky (whom he knew to have been a friend of
Mr Litvinenko) saying that, “if someone has caused the Russian state serious
damage, they should be exterminated”. The fact that Mr Lugovoy said these things
does not, of course, mean that he killed Mr Litvinenko. But the fact that he held
these views is certainly consistent with him having done so. I regard the fact that
Mr Lugovoy expressed these views as supportive of my overall finding that he did
poison Mr Litvinenko.
8.122 Of rather more significance is an incident described to me in evidence by Michael
Cotlick, who was Boris Berezovsky’s personal assistant from 2005 until Mr Berezovsky’s
death in 2013.
8.123 Mr Cotlick told me about an incident that took place in Mr Berezovsky’s London
offices in July 2010.9 Mr Cotlick described how he had been called to Mr Berezovsky’s
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personal office and went in to find Mr Berezovsky with two men. One of the men
was Yuri Dubov, who worked with Mr Berezovsky. The other man was named Rafael
Filinov. He was Russian, and had recently arrived in London from Moscow. Mr Cotlick
was shown a T-shirt that Mr Filinov had given to Mr Berezovsky. Mr Filinov explained
that he had been given the T-shirt in Moscow by Mr Lugovoy and, at Mr Lugovoy’s
request, had delivered it as a gift to Mr Berezovsky. There was writing printed on the
T-shirt (which can be seen in the photographs of the T-shirt below). The writing was
in extraordinary terms. The writing on the front of the T-shirt read “POLONIUM-210
CSKA LONDON, HAMBURG To Be Continued”. The writing on the back of the T-shirt
read, “CSKA Moscow Nuclear Death Is Knocking Your Door”.10

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Police photographs of the T-shirt 11

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8.124 Mr Cotlick said that he was aware that Mr Filinov had a personal relationship with
Mr Lugovoy. He said that he had “no doubt whatsoever” that Mr Lugovoy had himself
handed the T-shirt to Mr Filinov, in order for him to give it to Mr Berezovsky.
8.125 Taken on its own (and without, of course, the benefit of oral evidence from Mr Lugovoy),
it would be difficult to know what to make of this T-shirt. On any view, it demonstrates
that Mr Lugovoy approved of Mr Litvinenko’s murder. It was also, clearly, a threat
to Mr Berezovsky. Further than that, the T-shirt could be seen as an admission by
Mr Lugovoy that he had poisoned Mr Litvinenko, made at a time when he was confident
that he would never be extradited from Russia, and wished to taunt Mr Berezovsky
with that fact. Alternatively, it could, perhaps, be seen as an extraordinarily tasteless
joke.
8.126 However, the T-shirt does not stand alone. As I have indicated, I am satisfied on the
basis of other evidence (most importantly, the forensic evidence) that Mr Lugovoy did
indeed poison Mr Litvinenko. Set against that context, this T-shirt can only be seen as
Mr Lugovoy’s gleeful acknowledgement of his part in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
8.127 There is one last matter to address under this heading, and it relates to Mr Kovtun.
I have referred above to the fact that, after Mr Litvinenko’s death, Mr Kovtun had a
conversation with his ex-wife’s mother, Elenora Wall, about the radiation poisoning
that he was suffering from. When interviewed by the German authorities, Dr Wall gave
this account of the conversation:
“He told me that he had probably got some of the poison which killed Litvinenko.
He said word for word, ‘Those arseholes have probably poisoned us all’.” 12
8.128 It seems to me to be at least possible that this comment made by Mr Kovtun to his
mother-in-law, no doubt in an unguarded moment, was a revealing one.
8.129 The implication of his words is that a group of people, the unidentified “arseholes”
– had been responsible for poisoning both Mr Litvinenko and him – and possibly
Mr Lugovoy as well. This would not be consistent with the case pursued by the
Russian investigators, who accused Mr Litvinenko of having poisoned Mr Kovtun and
Mr Lugovoy. But it would be consistent with a scenario in which others had tasked
Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy to kill Mr Litvinenko, and had given them a poison with
which to do it, but had not told them what the poison was or what its properties were,
with the consequence that the poisoners, through ignorance, ended up contaminating
themselves.
8.130 If that is what Mr Kovtun meant, then it was certainly an unwise comment for him
to have made. But, as we have seen, making unwise comments is something that
Mr Kovtun appears to have done from time to time.

Evidence apparently inconsistent with Lugovoy and Kovtun’s
involvement
8.131 I did hear some evidence that at least appeared to be inconsistent with Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun having been responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death. I must, of course,
address that evidence.
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The polygraph test
8.132 In 2012, Mr Lugovoy underwent a polygraph or so-called ‘lie detector’ test in Moscow.
The test was administered by a British man and his son – Bruce and Tristam Burgess
– who are both qualified polygraph examiners. Mr Lugovoy was asked a series of
questions about his alleged involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death, and he denied any
such involvement. At the end of the test, Bruce Burgess, who took the lead role in
conducting the test, announced the result to Mr Lugovoy in the following words,13
“I can tell you the result was conclusive, you were telling the truth, no deception
indicated.”
8.133 I received exhaustive evidence about this polygraph test. The test itself was filmed,
and I adduced both the recording14 and a transcript in evidence.15 I also had available
to me the various charts produced by the polygraph equipment during the test.16 I
commissioned an expert in polygraphy, Professor Ray Bull, to prepare a report about
this test, and adduced that report in evidence.17 I also heard oral evidence from Bruce
Burgess,18 from Tristam Burgess,19 and from Professor Bull.20 All those materials are
available on the Inquiry website.
8.134 I will make it clear at once that I regard the polygraph test conducted on Mr Lugovoy
as having been seriously flawed. In consequence, I do not feel able to place any
weight at all on the outcome of the test. My reasons are as follows.
8.135 By the end of his oral evidence I was left with general concerns about the levels
of professionalism and objectivity demonstrated by Bruce Burgess (to whom I shall
refer hereafter simply as ‘Mr Burgess’), and therefore his suitability to conduct what
was, after all, a scientific examination relating to an allegation of murder. Mr Burgess
accepted that he has a conviction for perverting the course of justice. More particularly,
he stated during the course of his evidence that he did not think it would be improper
to conduct a polygraph test on a person who had been charged with a criminal offence
and was awaiting trial, on the basis that by that point the criminal investigation would
have been concluded. He also said that in those circumstances he would try to obtain
an admission if the individual ‘failed’ the test. Mr Burgess’ view was that none of this
risked interfering with the criminal process. In the present case, Mr Burgess accepted
that he flew to Moscow having been told that the subject of the proposed polygraph
test was involved in a murder case, but without asking who the subject was or what
precise stage the murder investigation had reached. He accepted that he should have
made further enquiries.
8.136 As I have said, these matters and others similar to them left me with concerns about
Mr Burgess’ professionalism and judgement. These concerns would not have justified
me in rejecting the test without more, but they did lead me to examine with care the
way in which the test was conducted.

13

INQ017779 (page 30)
INQ015781 part 1, INQ015781 part 2; INQ015777 part 1, INQ015777 part 2; INQ015778; INQ015779;
INQ015780 [videos]
15
INQ017779
16
INQ017728; INQ020308
17
INQ019031; INQ019054
18
Bruce Burgess 21/1-171
19
Tristam Burgess 21/172-213
20
Bull 21/213-256
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8.137 On examination, it became clear that there were a number of problems with the way
in which the test was conducted.
8.138 The type of test that Mr Burgess conducted on Mr Lugovoy is known as the Control
Question Technique (CQT). Professor Bull told me that research suggested that the
CQT has an 85% success rate in cases, such as this, where the result is that the
subject is not deceptive. There were, however, some problems with the research
techniques that had been used. Moreover, that figure assumed that the test was
properly conducted and that the subject had not used countermeasures.
8.139 Put very shortly, the CQT operates by comparing the subject’s response while
answering two sets of questions – ‘comparison questions’, which are intended to
provoke a dishonest response but which are not related to the conduct that is the
subject of the test, and ‘relevant questions’, which do relate to the subject of the test –
here, Mr Lugovoy’s alleged involvement in poisoning Mr Litvinenko. As Professor Bull
explained, the CQT depends for its success on the examiner choosing appropriate
questions and asking them in the correct manner. There were difficulties here on both
counts.
8.140 Mr Burgess repeatedly told Mr Lugovoy that the comparison questions were not
really part of the test, that they were not a threat to him, and that he wasn’t being
tested on them. This was completely contrary to the principles underlying the CQT,
as explained in scientific literature that I was shown. Professor Bull stated that this
was, “inconsistent with… good practice in polygraph testing”. Mr Burgess responded
that downplaying the importance of the control questions would be likely to increase
the chances of a negative result to the test, whereas Mr Lugovoy’s result had been
positive. I accept that there is a narrow logic to this proposition, but it does not answer
the general concern. As Professor Bull stated, polygraph tests are multi-faceted. The
outcome depends upon comparing a range of results across the piece. One cannot
simply accept that one part of the process was faulty but assume that it had no wider
damaging effect. The CQT process depends on the control questions being properly
selected and asked. The deficiencies that were identified undermine the test as a
whole.
8.141 There were, moreover, further difficulties relating to the relevant questions. One
question was whether Mr Lugovoy, “had ever performed any manipulations with
polonium”. Mr Lugovoy had told Mr Burgess prior to the test that he had been
contaminated by polonium, and that in that sense he had had “some dealings” with
polonium. Professor Bull observed that, in those circumstances, it was not clear why
Mr Lugovoy’s answer ‘No’ to that question was accepted as a truthful answer. I agree.
This question was poorly selected, and further undermined the test.
8.142 There was a further difficulty with the relevant questions. The CQT process depends
on the subject of the test being put under pressure, and measuring the subject’s
nervous physical reaction to false denials. However, throughout the testing process,
Mr Burgess sought to reassure Mr Lugovoy, telling him that he was not expecting him
to give untruthful answers to the relevant questions. As well as demonstrating a lack
of objectivity on Mr Burgess’ part, this would have tended to reduce Mr Lugovoy’s
reaction to false answers he was giving. Professor Bull considered that this was a
factor that could have undermined the test. I agree.
8.143 Professor Bull also made the more general point that the very fact that, by the time of
the test, Mr Lugovoy had answered questions repeatedly, over a period of years, about
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his alleged involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death, may have made him an unsuitable
subject for a test of this type and/or on this topic. He said that Mr Lugovoy’s mind and
body may have become ‘habituated’ to denying these allegations, so that the nervous
reaction to false denials that the test measures would not have been produced even
if he was lying.
8.144 Finally, Professor Bull gave detailed evidence regarding the risk of a polygraph test
being undermined by the subject of the test using countermeasures. He said that
it has been recognised that people can be trained to defeat polygraph tests. In my
view, this risk alone is sufficient to render this particular test valueless. Mr Lugovoy
accepted that he was familiar with polygraph tests through his security work. I also
bear in mind in this context his previous lengthy service in the Committee for State
Security (KGB). Moreover, in the course of the test Mr Lugovoy was seen to move,
which is a possible sign of countermeasures. He was told to keep still (as he had been
instructed at the outset), but continued to move.
8.145 In my judgement, there is a very serious risk that Mr Lugovoy had been trained to
defeat this polygraph test, and that he used countermeasures to do so.
8.146 In summary, I have no doubt that I should place no weight at all on the outcome of this
test – in part because of shortcomings in the way that the test was conducted, in part
because of Mr Lugovoy’s unsuitability as a subject of the test, and in part because of
the risk that Mr Lugovoy took deliberate steps to defeat the test.
8.147 Mr Emmerson did suggest at one stage that I might rely on one part of the test which
suggested that Mr Lugovoy had lied in response to one of the relevant questions. In
the end, rightly, he did not pursue this suggestion. I have concluded that the whole
process was flawed, and it would therefore be wrong for me to rely on any part of it.

Contamination of Lugovoy and Kovtun and their families
8.148 It is a striking feature of the Pine Bar narrative that, as Mr Litvinenko was leaving,
Mr Lugovoy invited him to shake hands with his young son, who had just arrived back
at the hotel. Mr Lugovoy has referred to this incident as evidence of his innocence –
surely, he has said, he would not risk his own son being contaminated?
8.149 The point goes further. Mr Lugovoy’s wife and son slept in a contaminated bedroom at
the Millennium Hotel, and sat in contaminated seats on the aircraft. Similarly, Marina
Wall’s flat in Hamburg was contaminated, leading her to say, “I really can’t imagine
that he [i.e. Mr Kovtun] would put my children in danger.” 21
8.150 I am prepared to assume that neither Mr Lugovoy nor Mr Kovtun would have wished
to harm their loved ones. But I do not consider that this assumption is inconsistent
with my conclusion that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun poisoned Mr Litvinenko with
polonium 210.
8.151 In an article in the Sunday Times, Mr Franchetti quoted a Russian source named
Mr Kondaurov, who stated:22
“Let’s for the sake of argument, assume that I had been in charge of such an
operation… and let’s assume Lugovoy was involved. I would have told him as
21
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little as possible. Agents are used all the time without knowing the full details of an
operation.”
8.152 I think that Mr Kondaurov’s analysis was sound. I regard it as likely that, whilst
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun knew that they were poisoning Mr Litvinenko, they did not
know the name or the properties of the poison that they had been given to use. I note
in passing that Mr Kovtun did not refer to polonium 210 in his conversation with D3.
8.153 Had Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun known more about the substance they were handling,
I am confident that they would have dealt with it more carefully. The fact that they
did not know what they were handling explains why it was splashed around in hotel
bathrooms and mopped up with hotel towels that were then left in the hotel. It explains
why Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy allowed their families to be contaminated. And it also,
perhaps, explains Mr Kovtun’s comment to his mother-in-law after Mr Litvinenko’s
death that, “Those arseholes have probably poisoned us all.”
8.154 I would, however, add one further point. I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
were aware that the substance that they were administering to Mr Litvinenko was
a deadly poison – as opposed, say, to a truth drug or a sleeping draught. As I have
found, Mr Kovtun told D3 of a plan to poison Mr Litvinenko, and explained that he was
being poisoned rather than shot in order to set an example. Those comments are only
consistent with a plan to kill Mr Litvinenko.

Indifference in Alexander Litvinenko drinking tea
8.155 A further oddity about the events in the Pine Bar is that, on the account that
Mr Litvinenko himself gave to the police, Mr Lugovoy was extremely indifferent as to
whether or not Mr Litvinenko should drink tea from the poisoned teapot. Mr Litvinenko’s
account was that Mr Lugovoy told him, “there is still some tea left here if you want you
can have some”.
8.156 If Mr Lugovoy was intent on poisoning Mr Litvinenko, wouldn’t he have been keener
on him drinking the tea?
8.157 I think that there are two answers to this question.
8.158 The first point is that Mr Lugovoy’s conduct was quite explicable. As Mr Horwell stated
in his closing submissions:
“Any display by either Lugovoy or Kovtun of eagerness or urgency or desperation
would have appeared suspicious and counterproductive. Anything other than
diffidence would have appeared very suspicious to Litvinenko and may well have
brought an end to the plot to kill him. This was, after all, not the drink of the gods
that was on offer at the Millennium Hotel, but an unexceptional cup of lukewarm
tea. Any encouragement or enthusiasm from Lugovoy that Litvinenko should drink
it would have been out of place and could have betrayed his murderous intent.
Lugovoy could afford to be diffident for two reasons. First, Litvinenko was very
keen to do business and associate with him. Litvinenko needed no encouragement
to meet Lugovoy. There would have been many other opportunities to poison him.
Even during that third visit to London, Lugovoy and Kovtun were due to meet
Litvinenko the following day, 2 November, at RISC Management.

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There would have been many other opportunities in the immediate future, both in
London and in Spain where Lugovoy and Litvinenko were due to meet just nine
days after their meeting at the Millennium Hotel.
In other words, the meeting in the Pine Bar was not the one and only opportunity
Lugovoy and Kovtun were going to have to murder Litvinenko.
Secondly, of course, as far as Lugovoy and Kovtun were concerned, there was
no shortage of this poison, whatever it might have been. Lugovoy had access to
the very same poison in London on each of his three visits. There is no reason to
suggest that it would not have been available to him in the future.” 23
8.159 I agree. That is enough to dispose of this point.
8.160 There is, however, a second observation that I would make. I have referred above
to the embarrassment that Mr Litvinenko appears to have felt at being poisoned by
someone that he trusted (see paragraphs 3.133 – 3.139). Mr Shvets described the
emotion as “wounded professional pride”. This appears to have been the explanation
for Mr Litvinenko’s delay in telling his friends about the meeting with Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun on 1 November, and the fact that he continued during that period, even to
his friends, to blame Mr Scaramella for the poisoning. It seems to me to be at least
possible that Mr Litvinenko carried this feeling of “wounded professional pride” into his
interviews with the police, and that in the course of those interviews he exaggerated
Mr Lugovoy’s diffidence about the tea in order to mitigate what he would have seen
as his own professional error in drinking it.

A set up?
8.161 It has been a frequent theme of Mr Lugovoy’s press interviews over the years that he
has been the victim of a set up. He has stated that MI6, or perhaps some other British
agency, must have killed Mr Litvinenko and then spread a trail of polonium in order to
incriminate him and Mr Kovtun.
8.162 I will deal with this point shortly.
8.163 It is worth reflecting on what this allegation entails. Leaving to one side the allegation
that Mr Litvinenko was murdered by British officials, a set up of the kind alleged by
Mr Lugovoy would have necessitated a series of public and private places in London
and beyond being deliberately contaminated with radioactive material. It would have
been a complex, expensive and extremely risky operation. Very large numbers of
people would have been put at risk.
8.164 I will simply say that in all the oral evidence that I have heard during this process,
in all the many thousands of pages of documents that I have seen, I have not come
across anything that would even begin to substantiate the claims of a set up made
by Mr Lugovoy. On the other hand, I have seen plentiful evidence that is wholly
inconsistent with Mr Lugovoy’s claims. That evidence, much of which I have attempted
to summarise above, clearly establishes that, far from being set up, Mr Lugovoy did
in fact, with Mr Kovtun, poison Mr Litvinenko.

23

Horwell 33/16-17

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Part 9:

Who directed the killing?

Chapter 1:

Introduction

9.1

I have made the finding that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun.

9.2

However, this immediately raises a further question. There is no evidence at all
that either Mr Lugovoy or Mr Kovtun had any personal reason to kill Mr Litvinenko.
Mr Lugovoy may have commented after Mr Litvinenko’s death that he regarded
Mr Litvinenko as a traitor, but I do not think for a moment that that feeling on its own
would have been sufficient to motivate Mr Lugovoy to plan and conduct the protracted
and costly operation against Mr Litvinenko that I have outlined above. Moreover,
had Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun been acting on their own behalf, it seems highly
unlikely that they would have had access to the polonium 210 that they used to poison
Mr Litvinenko. All the evidence points in one direction, namely that, when they killed
Mr Litvinenko, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were acting on behalf of someone else.

9.3

This Part will address the question of who directed Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun to kill
Mr Litvinenko.

9.4

The structure of this Part will be as follows.

9.5

In Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 I will consider whether any of
the individuals and organisations listed at paragraphs 17, 19, 20 and 21 of the List
of Issues (see Appendix 3) (i.e. Boris Berezovsky, United Kingdom (UK) intelligence
agencies, organised crime groups, Mario Scaramella, Chechen groups and Alexander
Talik) had any involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death.

9.6

In Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 I will analyse the
evidence relating to various aspects of the issue at paragraph 18 of the List of Issues
– the possible involvement of Russian State agencies in Mr Litvinenko’s death.

9.7

In Chapter 11 I will set out my conclusions on the issue of Russian State responsibility
for Mr Litvinenko’s death.

9.8

In Chapter 12 I will address one further issue, namely whether Nikolai Patrushev (the
head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in 2006) and/or President Putin bear any
responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death.

9.9

The factual content of these chapters will be drawn from the open evidence (I have
analysed the closed evidence in Part 7). I stress, however, that, as with Part 8, the
findings that I make below will be based on both the open and the closed evidence
that I have heard.

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 2:

Boris Berezovsky

9.10 There are two points to note about the suggestion that it was Mr Berezovsky who was
ultimately responsible for ordering the killing of Mr Litvinenko.
9.11 The first point is that the motive that his accusers have always ascribed to Mr Berezovsky
for wishing Mr Litvinenko dead is a fear of blackmail at the hands of his protégé. I
have addressed the question of a rift between Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky, and
the suggestion that Mr Litvinenko may have been blackmailing Mr Berezovsky, or
planning to do so, in Part 5 above.
9.12 I am satisfied that Mr Litvinenko was not blackmailing Mr Berezovsky. Even if he
did occasionally make comments suggesting taking some form of action against
Mr Berezovsky (for example, the comments related by Dr Svetlichnaya and the
conversation at the Golden Dragon related by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun), I am
quite satisfied that these were never put into effect. It is clear from the evidence that
I have heard that it was not unusual for Mr Litvinenko to propose courses of action in
conversation with friends and associates that never subsequently came to anything.
Mr Litvinenko and Mr Berezovsky remained friends until the end of Mr Litvinenko’s
life. There was no blackmail, and therefore no motive for Mr Berezovsky to have
Mr Litvinenko killed.
9.13 The second point is that the allegation that Mr Berezovsky was responsible for
Mr Litvinenko’s death is one that has been actively canvassed by Mr Lugovoy himself.
Mr Lugovoy has not suggested that he killed Mr Litvinenko on Mr Berezovsky’s behalf.
Rather, Mr Lugovoy’s argument has always been that he was not involved at all and
that it was Mr Berezovsky who was responsible, perhaps with others, for the killing.
9.14 But I have now made the finding that it was Mr Lugovoy, with Mr Kovtun, who killed
Mr Litvinenko.
9.15 There is no evidence at all that Mr Lugovoy might have been acting on
Mr Berezovsky’s behalf, and that hypothesis is inconsistent with the actions of both
men since Mr Litvinenko’s death. It is unlikely that Mr Lugovoy would have blamed
Mr Berezovsky if he had been acting on his behalf when he poisoned Mr Litvinenko.
As to Mr Berezovsky, I heard evidence from Mr Cotlick, his former personal assistant,
that following Mr Litvinenko’s death he spoke to Mr Lugovoy on the telephone and
encouraged him to come to London and stand trial. He told Mr Lugovoy that he
“could rely on the English justice system, and if he was really innocent, this would be
found out by the court.” He even offered to pay Mr Lugovoy’s legal expenses.1 This
is all wholly inconsistent with the idea that in fact Mr Lugovoy killed Mr Litvinenko on
Mr Berezovsky’s behalf.
9.16 In summary, I am quite satisfied that Mr Berezovsky bore no responsibility for
Mr Litvinenko’s death.

1

Cotlick 25/64

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

Chapter 3:

UK intelligence agencies

9.17 The allegation that UK intelligence agencies were responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s
death is of a piece with the ‘set up’ issue that I have addressed in Part 8 above.
Mr Lugovoy, for example, has advanced this allegation in the following terms:2
“I was framed. I suspect this was some British intelligence operation involving
Litvinenko and possibly Berezovsky that went wrong. I was contaminated by
Litvinenko or someone else, not the other way round. I think polonium was planted
on us and left in places we visited, to frame us.”
9.18 I repeat what I have said at paragraphs 8.161 – 8.164 above. I heard no evidence to
support this allegation.
9.19 I am entirely satisfied that UK intelligence agencies, and for that matter UK government
bodies more generally, played no part at all in Mr Litvinenko’s death.

2

HMG000175 (pages 9-10)

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Chapter 4:

Organised crime

9.20 As I have described above, the fight against organised crime had been one of
Mr Litvinenko’s preoccupations since the start of his career in the Committee for State
Security (KGB). His investigations into the activity of Russian crime gangs, and in
particular the Tambov/Malyshev group based in St Petersburg, also revealed to him
the extent of the collusion (as he saw it) between organised crime and members,
including senior members, of the FSB.
9.21 Mr Litvinenko sought to expose these links, in particular in his book The Gang from
the Lubyanka, which contained detailed allegations of collusion between FSB officers
and organised crime.
9.22 Further, Mr Litvinenko passed information to the Mitrokhin Commission alleging that
Semion Mogilevich, apparently one of the leaders of Russian organised crime, was
an FSB agent with a longstanding personal relationship with President Putin.
9.23 Finally, I have also heard evidence that towards the end of his life Mr Litvinenko was
assisting the Spanish authorities with investigations that they were conducting against
members of Russian organised crime groups, and that he thought it possible that he
might give evidence against them in court.
9.24 It follows from this short summary that a theory that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun killed
Mr Litvinenko on the orders of one or more members of Russian crime gangs would
not be implausible.
9.25 That theory, however, is not supported by the evidence that is available to me.
Detective Inspector (DI) Mascall stated that the police investigation has not uncovered
any evidence linking Mr Mogilevich directly to the poisoning.3 More broadly, none of
the evidence suggests that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were commissioned to kill
Mr Litvinenko by members of crime gangs. More than that, I am satisfied for reasons
that I shall describe below that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun in fact received their
instructions from another source.

3

Mascall 29/83-85

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

Chapter 5:

Mario Scaramella, Chechen groups,

Alexander Talik

9.26 There were a number of reasons why it was thought at one stage that Mr Scaramella
may have been involved in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
9.27 First, there were the simple factual points that the two men met on the day that
Mr Litvinenko fell ill, and that the itsu restaurant where the meeting took place was
found to be contaminated. I am satisfied that the timing of this meeting was a pure
coincidence, and that there was nothing sinister about it. It was no coincidence
that they went to the itsu restaurant on Piccadilly – I have heard that it was one of
Mr Litvinenko’s favourite places. However, as I have explained (see paragraph 6.292
above), the contamination that was found there was centred on a table different to
that at which Mr Litvinenko and Mr Scaramella sat on 1 November 2006.
9.28 Second, initial tests indicated that Mr Scaramella was himself heavily contaminated
with polonium 210. As Dr Harrison explained in evidence, however, the results of
these tests were unreliable.4 Mr Scaramella was not in fact contaminated at all.
9.29 Third, in the early days of his illness Mr Litvinenko himself suggested that Mr Scaramella
may have been the person who poisoned him. I do not believe, however, that
Mr Litvinenko ever thought this to have been true. As I have explained above, his
early suggestion that Mr Scaramella may have poisoned him was in part the result of
a desire not to admit to friends that he had allowed Mr Lugovoy to get close to him,
and, in part, one element in a deliberate scheme to try and lure Mr Lugovoy back to
the UK.
9.30 Mr Scaramella clearly regarded Mr Litvinenko as a friend. He had no motive to kill
him. Giving evidence to the Inquiry, DI Mascall stated that the police had no evidence
to suggest that Mr Scaramella was involved in Mr Litvinenko’s death.5
9.31 The limit of the allegations made against Mr Scaramella was that it was he who had
poisoned Mr Litvinenko on 1 November 2006. For the reasons set out above, I am
quite satisfied that Mr Scaramella had no responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death. I
am, of course, fortified in this conclusion by the finding that I have already made that
it was Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun who poisoned Mr Litvinenko.
9.32 The List of Issues was drawn up at an early stage of the inquest proceedings, and
adopted with only a few changes for the purposes of the Inquiry. As the case developed,
it became apparent that there was no evidence to support the suggestion that either
Chechen groups or Mr Talik had been involved in Mr Litvinenko’s death.

4
5

Harrison 19/67-73
Mascall 29/79-82

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Chapter 6:

Russian State responsibility –

introduction

9.33 A great deal of the evidence that I have heard in the course of the Inquiry has touched
on the possibility that one or more organisations of the Russian State may have
ordered Mr Litvinenko’s killing, or that they may otherwise have been involved or
complicit in his death. That issue has been referred to, both during the course of the
Inquiry and in this Report, as the issue, of Russian State responsibility.
9.34 In the following chapters I will address the following themes in the evidence relating
to possible Russian State responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death:
9.35 In chapter 7 I will consider the evidence that Russia was the source of the polonium 210
that killed Mr Litvinenko.
9.36 In chapter 8 I will consider the motives that the Russian State may have had for
wishing Mr Litvinenko dead, and evidence that I heard as to the history of other killings
and deaths of opponents of President Putin.
9.37 In chapter 9 I will consider the evidence of links between Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
and the Russian State.
9.38 In chapter 10 I will consider events that have taken place since Mr Litvinenko’s death,
and what inferences may be drawn from them.
9.39 In chapter 11 I will set out my conclusions on the question of whether any Russian
State organisation was responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death.
9.40 In chapter 12, I will address the further question of whether Nikolai Patrushev (the head
of the FSB in 2006) and/or President Putin bear any responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s
death.
9.41 One witness about whom I should say a little more at this stage is Professor Robert
Service, who was until recently Professor of Russian History at Oxford University. I
have already referred to his evidence on a number of occasions. Professor Service
was instructed by the Inquiry to provide expert evidence on Russian history and
politics. He produced two reports, both of which I adduced in evidence.6 He also gave
oral evidence at the Inquiry hearings.7
9.42 For the avoidance of any doubt, Professor Service did not have access to any of the
closed material and was not involved in the closed hearings. It follows from this that
the material that is available to me and upon which I am able to base my findings is
more extensive than the material upon which Professor Service based his views.
9.43 I say at once that I found Professor Service to be a most impressive and helpful
witness. His mastery of the subject was apparent, but just as notable – and of great
assistance to me – was the conspicuous care that he took in highlighting the issues
where the limited nature of the source material available to him meant that he was
unable to express a decided view one way or the other.

6
7

INQ019146; INQ020316; INQ020998
Service 28/1-104

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9.44 The paucity of the public information relating to the inner workings of President Putin’s
administration was, indeed, a theme of Professor Service’s evidence. As he put the
matter: “It cannot be emphasised too heavily that public access to information about
Russian politics has undergone a severe constriction since Vladimir Putin’s accession
to Presidential power in 2000.” 8
9.45 As I have indicated, there were occasions in the course of his evidence where
Professor Service stated that the lack of public information in respect of an issue
meant that he was unable to express a view about it. He suggested, moreover, that
there were reasons going beyond academic or judicial rigour why this Inquiry ought
to be careful to restrict its conclusions to matters that were provable on the evidence
before it. He said this:9
“But we have to be really cautious – and there’s another aspect of this that exercises
me, and that’s that Russians want to see us fairly going through evidence in a
scholarly environment or a judicial environment or an Inquiry like this in a fashion
that they know doesn’t happen in their own country. So we must not sink at all
below our conventional standards. We absolutely mustn’t, because some of what
we do in relation to this Inquiry will get back to Moscow, and we must not give them
the opportunity to say that we failed to respect our own standards because those
are standards that are really worth keeping to.”
I wholeheartedly endorse these sentiments, which accurately reflect my approach to
the evidence.

8
9

INQ019146 (page 4 paragraph 9)
Service 28/62

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Chapter 7:

Russian State responsibility – the
source of the polonium 210

9.46 It is self evident that the isotope polonium 210 is a very rare substance. I also heard
evidence that the isotope is difficult to produce and dangerous to handle. Moreover,
whilst polonium 210 is routinely manufactured and sold commercially, it is only publicly
available in minute quantities that are embedded within sealed containers.
9.47 Since polonium 210 is such a rare and specialised commodity, the question arises as
to whether evidence relating to the polonium 210 that was used to kill Mr Litvinenko
might assist in establishing responsibility for his death. Can the source of the polonium
210 be traced? If so, what inferences can be drawn?
9.48 I received valuable evidence on these issues from Professor Norman Dombey.
Professor Dombey was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Sussex
from 1989 until his retirement in 2003, and since that time has been Emeritus Professor.
He has extensive experience in the field of nuclear physics. He also has a level of
practical knowledge, in part through his international contacts, about the production of
polonium 210 in Russia. In August 2007 Professor Dombey wrote a review of Death
of a Dissident in the London Review of Books.10 Following that, he was commissioned
by Alex Goldfarb to prepare an expert report for the purposes of the claim brought by
Marina Litvinenko before the European Court of Human Rights. That report was dated
12 November 2007.11 Professor Dombey thereafter provided a supplementary report
for the purposes of this Inquiry,12 and also attended to give oral evidence.13
9.49 A certain amount of the evidence relating to the possible source of the polonium 210
was uncontroversial.
9.50 It is not in any doubt that polonium 210 is, and was, throughout the relevant period,
manufactured in Russia for commercial purposes. Professor Dombey assisted me by
providing detailed evidence about this industry.14 He explained that the programme
of polonium 210 production in Russia uses facilities at two former closed cities, both
of which were initially established in connection with the manufacture of nuclear
weapons. It was his understanding that all Russian production of polonium 210 came
from this programme.15
9.51 The process by which large scale production of polonium 210 is undertaken was
described in evidence by both Professor Dombey and witness A1.
9.52 Put shortly, a target of bismuth 209, which is a stable isotope, is inserted into a reactor
where it is bombarded with neutrons. During the bombardment, bismuth 209 atoms
capture neutrons and thereby become bismuth 210 atoms. Bismuth 210 is an unstable
isotope, which decays by emitting a beta particle, so that one of its neutrons changes
into a proton. That converts the bismuth 210 atom into a polonium 210 atom. When
the target is removed from the reactor, a process has to be undertaken to isolate
10

INQ006067 (pages 7-8)
INQ006067
12
INQ020031
13
Dombey 23/5-56
14
Dombey 23/13-39
15
Dombey 23/22
11

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

or remove the polonium 210 that has been created in this way from the remaining
bismuth target.
9.53 Professor Dombey explained that in the Russian production programme the first stage
of this process – i.e. the irradiation of the bismuth target – takes place in a nuclear
reactor at the Mayak facility (formerly known as Chelyabinsk), near Ozersk. The
second stage of the manufacturing process, i.e. the recovery of polonium 210 from
the irradiated bismuth, is undertaken at a special production plant at the Avangard
facility in Sarov (formerly known as Arzamas-16).16 For convenience, I shall refer to
this production programme as ‘the Avangard programme’.
9.54 Professor Dombey stated that the Avangard programme manufactured 0.8 grams of
polonium 210 every month, and that this entire amount was routinely exported to the
USA.17
9.55 He further explained that on arrival in the USA, the polonium 210 was split and placed
in tiny amounts into sealed sources that were then sold for use in devices such as
anti-static guns.
9.56 The police made enquiries into the export of polonium from Russia to the USA, and
DI Mascall gave evidence about the results of those enquiries.18 His evidence was
consistent with the more detailed evidence given by Professor Dombey.
9.57 It follows from all of this (and again, I think that this is uncontroversial) that Russia,
i.e. the Avangard programme, could unquestionably have been the source of the
polonium 210 ingested by Mr Litvinenko.
9.58 However, during the course of the Inquiry, various lines of evidence and argument
were raised which, potentially at least, took the matter further. The logic of these
different theories was that the polonium 210 used to kill Mr Litvinenko either probably
came, or even must have come, from Russia.
9.59 Taken at their highest, these lines of evidence, which are independent of each other,
suggested that there might be a direct link between the polonium 210 ingested by
Mr Litvinenko and Russia as its place of production. Evidence was called in relation
to each of these theories, and I shall address them in turn below.

Forensic matching/fingerprinting of polonium 210 samples
9.60 In Death of a Dissident, the book that they published in 2007, Alex Goldfarb and Marina
Litvinenko advanced what has been described as a ‘fingerprint’ theory, suggesting
that every batch of commercially produced polonium 210 contains characteristic and
detectable impurities, by which it can subsequently be traced and identified. What
they said was as follows:19
“When Polonium-210 decays – its half-life is 138 days, meaning that half of any
given amount decays in the first 138 days, followed by a fourth in the next 138
days, and so on – it turns into lead, a nonradioactive metal. As the amount of
polonium decreases, the amount of lead increases. By measuring the proportion of
16

Dombey 23/20-32
Dombey 23/24-30; INQ020031 (page 2 paragraphs S9-S10)
18
Mascall 29/77-78
19
Death of Dissident, pp.337-338
17

217

The Litvinenko Inquiry

lead in a sample of polonium, an investigator can figure out how old the sample is
and establish the precise date it was produced. Moreover, the production process
leaves characteristic isotope impurities in every batch. By comparing the lead
content and the impurities present in two samples of polonium, an investigator
should be able to say whether they came from the same batch, produced in the
same laboratory on the same day.
Samples of Russian polonium have presumably been available to British law
enforcement from American sources. The Polonium-210 found in Sasha’s body
has by now undoubtedly been checked against the Polonium-210 exported to the
United States. From the level of lead and the isotope composition, the investigators
should have been able to unequivocally establish the batch and production date
of the poison. ...”
9.61 A similar argument was advanced by Professor Dombey in a written Declaration that
he signed in November 2007.20
9.62 It will be seen that this ‘fingerprint’ theory is founded on two premises.
9.63 The first premise is that all commercially produced polonium 210 contains detectable
impurities that vary from reactor to reactor, so that these impurities amount to a unique
signature that can be used to identify the reactor used to manufacture any particular
sample of polonium 210.
9.64 The second premise is that analysis of the lead content of a sample of polonium 210
can be used to calculate the precise date on which it was manufactured.
9.65 A1 addressed both these issues in her report dated 26 June 2013,21 and also in her
oral evidence.22
9.66 A1 rejected the first premise. She explained that a sample of commercially produced
polonium 210 had been analysed at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)
and found to be entirely pure. There were no signature impurities. In her report, A1
described the process of irradiating bismuth 209 by which the commercial production
of polonium 210 is undertaken. She then continued:23
“The final product is pure Polonium 210. The fact that Polonium 210 can be made
free of detectable gamma emitting radionuclides was demonstrated at AWE by
conducting a gamma spectrometric analysis of a sample of commercially available
Polonium 210. The single gamma active peak was observed at 803 keV attributable
to Polonium 210. The other gamma peaks observed in the spectra were due to
alpha and neutron activation of the packaging and detector system generated
by the alpha particles interacting with the containment vessel, and the intrinsic
background of the detector system. No gamma peaks were attributed to likely
impurities in the Polonium 210.
As the only radionuclide detected in the commercial sample was Polonium 210 it
is not possible to derive ratios that can be used as a distinguishing radionuclide
fingerprint for different ‘batches’ of Polonium 210.
20

INQ006067 (page 5 paragraph 31)
INQ016403 (pages 29-32)
22
A1 2/131-140
23
INQ016403 (page 30)
21

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

No radionuclides other than Polonium 210 were identified by gamma counting of
the exhibits supplied by MPS once peaks due to detector background system were
removed. Thus the exhibits also had no fingerprint to distinguish the polonium
210.”
9.67 It follows that the first premise for the ‘fingerprint’ theory that I have set out above is
flawed and must be rejected.
9.68 Turning to the second premise, A1 accepted that the age (and, therefore, the
manufacture date) of a sample of polonium 210 could in principle be calculated by
reference to the lead content in the sample. She referred in this context to the equation
that is used to make this calculation. However, A1 also added a number of important
qualifications.
9.69 First, she explained that due to the form of the equation and the expected uncertainties
of the measurements, it is only possible to use this method to determine the age of
polonium 210 samples up to seven months old. Beyond that period, the changes in
the amount of lead become too small for reliable calculations to be performed.
9.70 Second, A1 said that even for samples still within the first seven months of manufacture,
this process cannot provide an exact date of manufacture. Rather, she explained,
the process can only be relied upon to differentiate between samples manufactured
at least 13 or 14 days apart. As A1 explained in her report, it followed that: “if two
batches of Polonium 210 were purified on two consecutive days or even ten days
apart this could not be differentiated by analysis of Lead 206”.24
9.71 Turning from the limits of this process in theory to its limits in practice, A1 stated that
most of the exhibits in the present case were not suitable for age dating in any event
because they had been heated and/or cleaned after the date of contamination, which
would have rendered the dating process unreliable.
9.72 In summary, the claims made about the ‘fingerprint’ theory in the passage from Death
of a Dissident that I have quoted above are not supported by the expert scientific
evidence that I have heard. The analysis conducted at AWE does not support the
assertion that all commercially produced batches of polonium 210 have characteristic
impurities, and although there is a process by which such samples can be aged by
reference to their lead content, the process is far from precise and in any event the
samples in this case had not been sufficiently well preserved to enable meaningful
calculations to be made.

The Potemkin evidence
9.73 This issue arises from evidence given by Mr Goldfarb about information and documents
that he received in unusual circumstances from a man calling himself Alexei Potemkin.
9.74 Mr Goldfarb provided lengthy written evidence about this issue and also answered
some questions about it when he gave oral evidence.25 The tale that Mr Goldfarb
related was a complicated one, and I will summarise it as briefly as I can.
9.75 Mr Goldfarb explained that he had first been contacted by Mr Potemkin in June
2010, by email. Thereafter they had exchanged several emails. In the first instance,
24
25

INQ016403 (page 31)

INQ018946; INQ017548 (pages 8-9); Goldfarb 26/125-127

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Potemkin had merely stated that he had information connected with the polonium
in the Litvinenko case. In due course, he became more forthcoming. He said that
he was a Major in the FSB who was living as an undercover agent of the Russian
government in Austria. He also said that he could provide information as to how the
polonium that had been used to poison Mr Litvinenko had been transported to the UK
from Russia, and that he had in fact been part of the transportation chain.
9.76 Mr Goldfarb described what he did next. He continued to communicate with
Mr Potemkin, as well as informing the police about the information that he had
received. In August 2010 Mr Goldfarb met Mr Potemkin in Innsbruck. The two met on
further occasions later that year.
9.77 Mr Potemkin told Mr Goldfarb that in 2004 he had been assigned by the FSB to travel
to Austria and claim asylum as a deserter from the Russian army, and thereafter to
live in Austria as a refugee, with a view to monitoring the large population of Chechen
refugees present in that country. He said that he now wished to live in the UK, and that
he was willing to provide the UK authorities with sensitive information and documents
in order to facilitate this.
9.78 The story that Mr Potemkin told Mr Goldfarb about his involvement in the Litvinenko
case was brief. He said that in 2006 a courier from the FSB had delivered to him
a sealed container with radioactive markings. He had believed that it contained
polonium 210. He had been instructed to put the container in a locker at Innsbruck
railway station and to hide the key in a prearranged place in the station. He said that
he had done this.
9.79 Mr Potemkin told Mr Goldfarb that the courier who had given him the package was not
an FSB officer, but a Chechen freelancer whom he knew only as Sultan. He believed
that Sultan was involved in arms and drugs smuggling as well as working for the
FSB. Mr Potemkin said that Sultan had also been involved in a previous shipment of
radioactive material in 2004.
9.80 Mr Potemkin’s account was that when he received the container in 2006, he put it in
the locker at the railway station and never saw it again. He did not open the container,
nor did he see any transit documents. He said that he believed the package contained
polonium 210 on account of the markings that it bore; he said that he had previously
dealt with shipments of polonium 210 in 2002 as a member of a Russian special
forces unit.
9.81 Mr Goldfarb produced several documents that he said Mr Potemkin had given to him.
For most of the documents, Mr Goldfarb provided both a copy of the Russian original
and also an English translation. Mr Potemkin told Mr Goldfarb that these documents
had been obtained in Moscow by a man named Sergei Ploshkin, who he said was his
former superior officer in the FSB.
9.82 I do not propose to set out the detailed contents of these documents. I have adduced
all the documents into evidence and they are available on the Inquiry website.26
In summary, the key documents appear to evidence a consignment of radioactive
material, possibly polonium 210, being transferred in August 2006 from Balakovo
Atomic Power Station in Russia to the FSB Research Institute in Moscow. There is
26

INQ014604; INQ014605; INQ014607; INQ014608; INQ014609; INQ014610; INQ014611; INQ014612;
INQ014613; INQ014620; INQ014621; INQ014623; INQ014624

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

a further document dated 17 September 2006,27 which records FSB orders relating
to the delivery to Mr Potemkin of material described only as ‘Chemistry’, as well as
documents and currency. On the document, the purpose of this delivery is stated to
be: “for carrying out further activities related to investigation, possible neutralization
and return to RF of certain members of Chechen ethnic criminal groups in position
Austria”. The document further states that; “further instructions related to the material
“Chemistry” will be given to [Mr Potemkin] via existing channels of communication”.
Mr Potemkin told Mr Goldfarb that he received his further orders to put the container
in a locker at the railway station through “communication channels”.
9.83 In his witness statement dated 20 May 2013,28 Mr Goldfarb stated that he had stayed
in touch with Mr Potemkin since 2010 in order to facilitate meetings with the police
and also with a journalist. He also referred to the fact that Mr Potemkin had recently
been convicted in Austria for fraud; he reported the explanation that Mr Potemkin had
given him for this conviction, namely that he had in effect been set up by the FSB.
9.84 In the same statement, Mr Goldfarb recorded his own views as to the reliability of the
account that Mr Potemkin had given. He said this:
“While I felt obliged to report Potemkin’s story to the police, I am of two minds
about his credibility. On the one hand, his story is too sophisticated, elaborate and
detailed to be a simpleminded hoax. On a more personal level, he left a positive
impression, both on me and on two seasoned journalists that I brought to interview
him. On the other hand, there are inconsistencies in his story, which he could
never explain, and the documents that he provided, raised many questions. With
the revelation of the Austrian fraud case, I became even more doubtful whether
Potemkin should be believed. I defer final judgment to the police.”
9.85 In his oral evidence to me at the Inquiry hearings, Mr Goldfarb adopted very much the
same line. He said that the story “may be true, it may be false”. He added that he had
reservations stemming both from inconsistencies in Mr Potemkin’s account and from
the fraud conviction.29
9.86 I have reached the clear view that I should not place any weight on the evidence
emanating from Mr Potemkin. Put very briefly, the uncertainties both about the
substance of his evidence and about his credibility are so great that the only proper
course I can take is to disregard this material in its entirety. My more detailed reasons
are as follows.
9.87 First, there are real doubts about Mr Potemkin’s credibility. He is, on his own account,
both a man who has spent years working as an undercover agent informing on those
around him, and also a man who has more recently betrayed his own organisation.
This is not a promising starting point, and the position has been compounded by
Mr Potemkin’s conviction on fraud charges. It does not follow from any of these
matters, of course, that the story Mr Potemkin told Mr Goldfarb is untruthful. But, given
this context, I am bound to approach Mr Potemkin’s evidence with great caution. It
does not assist in this respect that I have not heard him give evidence, and am not
therefore in a position to form an independent view of his reliability.

27

INQ014620; INQ014621
INQ017548 (pages 8-9)
29
Goldfarb 26/125-127
28

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9.88 Second, Mr Potemkin’s account is on any view far fetched. Again, that does not of
course mean that he is lying. But there are many further questions to which I would
have needed an answer before being sufficiently confident to conclude that the
extraordinary story that he has told is true. To give only a few examples, if the container
was to be brought to Innsbruck by Sultan and left in a locker at the railway station, why
did Mr Potemkin need to be involved at all? Why couldn’t Sultan have left the container
at the station? On a further point, how confident was Mr Potemkin that the package
contained polonium 210? How did his earlier special forces experience assist him in
identifying the contents of this package? Did the markings on the package specifically
state that it contained polonium 210, and if not, how did Mr Potemkin know that it did not
contain (for example) some other radioactive material? Finally, why did Mr Potemkin’s
(presumably secret) orders state that he was to receive this package in connection
with: “carrying out further activities related to investigation, possible neutralization and
return to RF of certain members of Chechen ethnic criminal groups” ? On the account
that he has given, this would appear to be simply inaccurate.
9.89 Third and in any event, I observe that even if Mr Potemkin’s account was to be accepted
in its entirety, it would be of only limited assistance to this Inquiry. Put at its highest,
the account amounts to evidence that in September 2006 the FSB was clandestinely
moving a package of polonium 210 around Europe as far as Innsbruck. There is
no evidence to connect the container that Mr Potemkin claims to have deposited
in a locker at Innsbruck station with London, Mr Litvinenko – or, for example, with
Mr Lugovoy or Mr Kovtun.

Professor Dombey’s analysis
9.90 When he gave his oral evidence to the Inquiry, Professor Dombey appeared to
advance an argument that was both simple and, if true, of great significance to this
case.
9.91 In summary, this argument was (a) that the polonium 210 that was used to kill
Mr Litvinenko must have been made in Russia, since the Mayak/Avangard facilities
were the only place in the world in which the quantity of polonium used on 1 November
2006 could have been made; and (b) that since the facilities at Mayak and Avangard
were controlled by the Russian State, any diversion of the polonium 210 produced
there must have been authorised by state officials. Unsurprisingly, some emphasis
was placed on this evidence by Mr Emmerson in his closing statement.
9.92 There were a number of steps to Professor Dombey’s reasoning, which I will address
in turn. After the conclusion of the Inquiry hearings, A1 produced a further statement
in which she gave her own opinion on several of these points, and Professor Dombey
responded by way of a further statement.30 I am grateful both to A1 and to Professor
Dombey for their assistance in this regard; the further written material that they have
provided has been of considerable assistance in resolving this issue.

The amount of polonium 210 that was used
9.93 Professor Dombey estimated that at least 50 micrograms of polonium 210 was put
into the teapot at the Millennium Hotel on the afternoon of 1 November 2006. His
reasoning was that the 4.4GBq that Mr Litvinenko was considered to have ingested
equated to 26.5 micrograms, and the higher figure of 50 micrograms was chosen
30

INQ022423; INQ022433

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

as a conservative estimate to allow for the extra polonium 210 that had been in the
teapot but which Mr Litvinenko had not ingested, i.e. the polonium 210 mixed with the
unpoured tea in the pot and the undrunk tea in the cup.31
9.94 A1 agreed with Professor Dombey’s calculation.32
9.95 I note at this stage that, given the findings I have already made both as to the fact
that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned on 1 November by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun, and
as to the fact that they had been responsible for the other deposits of polonium 210
found, for example, at the Erinys offices, in room 107 of the Best Western Hotel and
in room 848 of the Sheraton Hotel, the amount of polonium 210 that they must have
had available to them over the period 16 October to 1 November 2006 was in fact
considerably in excess of 50 micrograms.

Could the polonium 210 have been extracted from uranium or
anti-static devices?
9.96 Professor Dombey next considered the process by which whoever poisoned
Mr Litvinenko (on my findings, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun) might have obtained the
hypothetical quantity of 50 micrograms of polonium 210.
9.97 He discounted two sources from which, at least in theory, the polonium 210 might
have come.
9.98 First, he stated that it would have been extremely impractical to extract that quantity
of polonium 210 from uranium ore.33 A1 agreed with Professor Dombey on this point.34
This possibility can therefore be dismissed.
9.99 Professor Dombey next considered the possibility that a quantity of 50 micrograms of
polonium 210 might have been amassed by breaking down commercially produced
anti-static devices containing very small amounts of polonium 210. He calculated
that it would have been necessary to extract the polonium 210 from about 450
such sources in order to make up this amount. In his written evidence, Professor
Dombey expressed the view that any bulk purchase (or bulk theft) of that number
of these devices would have been noticed.35 He also observed that the extraction
of polonium 210 from these devices would have been extremely dangerous without
specialist training and equipment. It was this factor that he emphasised in his oral
evidence, stating that, “it certainly would be impossible for a thief or a gang to extract
Polonium 210 from these samples”.36 He therefore excluded this possibility on those
two grounds.
9.100 A1 did not consider herself competent to express a view on whether the loss or theft
of 450 or so devices would have been noticed, in particular since the total production
of such devices could have been numbered in the millions per month. But she did
provide some additional reasoning regarding this possible source of the polonium
210. She stated:37
31

INQ020031 (page 4 paragraphs S17-S18)
INQ022423 (page 2)
33
INQ020031 (page 4 paragraphs S20-S21)
34
INQ022423 (pages 2-3 paragraph 8)
35
INQ020031 (page 5 paragraphs S27-S31)
36
Dombey 23/42
37
INQ022423 (page 4 paragraph 13)
32

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

“In my view, there is a different and entirely independent reason why it is extremely
unlikely that the Po-210 used to poison Mr Litvinenko was obtained by extraction
from such devices. When these devices are manufactured, the Po-210 is bonded
to a substrate, as Prof Dombey describes. Whilst it is possible that Po-210 could be
extracted there is also the possibility of cross-contamination from impurities. Such
impurities would be detectable on analysis. However, the Po-210 used to poison
Mr Litvinenko was of extremely high purity, and I think that this fact excludes the
possibility that it was extracted from such devices.”
9.101 Having excluded these two possible sources, Professor Dombey and A1 were agreed
that the polonium 210 that was used to kill Mr Litvinenko must have been obtained
directly from a supply manufactured in a reactor through the process (that I have
described above) of irradiating bismuth. Professor Dombey added that since the
polonium 210 in question must have been soluble, it must have been transported, “in
metallic form, or something similar”.38
9.102 A1 and Professor Dombey took different views, however, regarding the type of reactor
in which the polonium 210 at issue in this case must or could have been produced. It
is to that question that I now turn.

Which reactor(s) could have been used to produce the polonium 210?
9.103 As I have indicated above, at the time that he gave oral evidence to the Inquiry, it
appeared to be Professor Dombey’s analysis that the only place where the polonium
210 that was used to kill Mr Litvinenko could have been produced was at the Mayak
and Avangard facilities in Russia.
9.104 The starting point for Professor Dombey’s argument was his contention that, as a
matter of fact, the Avangard programme was the only commercial producer of polonium
210 in the world. Beyond that, he argued that the Lyudmila reactor at Mayak was one
of only a handful of reactors worldwide that were sufficiently powerful to irradiate
the quantities of bismuth 209 needed to produce the 50 micrograms (or, more likely,
more) of polonium 210 involved here.
9.105 Professor Dombey listed the other high power reactors – located in places such as
the UK, Canada and India – and gave evidence that these reactors were not used to
produce polonium 210. He supported this evidence with documentary evidence to a
similar effect. Professor Dombey accepted that less powerful research reactors could
be used to irradiate bismuth and thereby make polonium 210, but he said that these
reactors were limited to making far smaller amounts of polonium 210 than the 50
microgram quantity in play here.
9.106 This led him to the conclusion that the polonium that was used to kill Mr Litvinenko
must have been produced at the Avangard programme.
9.107 A1 took issue with this analysis. She accepted (more accurately, she said she had no
reason to doubt) that the Avangard programme was the only commercial producer of
polonium 210 in the world. She did not agree, however, that the reactors on Professor
Dombey’s list of high power reactors were the only reactors capable of producing a
quantity of 50 micrograms of polonium 210. In fact, A1 contended that the characteristic
of a reactor that was of most relevance to its use for the production of polonium 210
38

Dombey 23/54

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

was not its thermal power, but rather its neutron flux39 (a point to which Professor
Dombey had alluded in the course of his oral evidence).40
9.108 A1 expressed the view that very many research reactors had a sufficient level of
neutron flux to produce 50 micrograms of polonium 210 by means of irradiating bismuth
209. Moreover, she said that the process involved was relatively straightforward. She
stated that, because the bismuth target can be inserted into a reactor core in place
of a fuel rod, “it would be easily possible to insert a bismuth target ... into very many
reactors.” 41
9.109 Witness A1 summarised her opinion on this issue in these terms:42
“I therefore think that on a technical level, it would be entirely possible for the
quantity of Po-210 under consideration to have been produced in many reactors.
All that would be required is an appropriate bismuth target, access to a suitable
reactor for an appropriate period of time, and suitable facilities with appropriate
radiological protection for the relatively simple chemical process of isolating the
Po-210 from the irradiated bismuth target. While it is of course possible that the
Po-210 was simply diverted from that which is routinely produced at Avangard, I do
not agree with Prof Dombey that that must have been the source of this Po-210.”
9.110 In the further statement that he provided in response to A1’s statement, Professor
Dombey clarified his position. He stated that, although he regarded it as “highly likely”
that the polonium 210 that had been used to kill Mr Litvinenko had been prepared at
the Avangard facility, he accepted that it was “possible to envisage circumstances” in
which it could have been prepared elsewhere. It seems to me that this clarification
of his position by Professor Dombey means that there is no material difference of
opinion on this issue between him and A1. They share the view that the polonium
210 that killed Mr Litvinenko could have been produced at Avangard (and it is fair to
say that Professor Dombey puts the matter considerably higher than that). Crucially,
however, they also both accept that the polonium 210 could in principle have been
made somewhere entirely different, including a research reactor outside Russia.

Conclusion
9.111 My conclusion, for the reasons that I have set out above, is that none of these theories
or lines of evidence relating to the source of the polonium 210 that was used to kill
Mr Litvinenko amount to a secure basis for me to conclude, without more evidence,
that the polonium 210 in question either must have come, or even probably came,
from Russia.
9.112 That does not mean that the fact that polonium 210 was used to poison Mr Litvinenko
is of no significance to the question of responsibility for his death.
9.113 First, the use of polonium 210 is at the very least a strong indicator of state involvement.
That is in part simply because ordinary criminals might have been expected to use a
more straightforward, less sophisticated means of killing. It is also because, on the
evidence, the polonium 210 used to kill Mr Litvinenko must have come from a reactor,
and such reactors are, in general, under state control.
39

INQ022423

Dombey 23/33; 23/39-40

41
INQ022423 (page 7 paragraph 30)

42
INQ022423 (page 9 paragraph 37)

40

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

9.114 It is also true, as I have said, that the Avangard programme in Russia was a possible
source of the polonium 210. That is significant, even though the matter cannot be put
any more strongly than that.
9.115 Finally, I would add in passing that the open market cost of polonium 210 would not
appear to be a factor of any great significance. At the outset of the inquiry hearings,
Mr Emmerson asserted that:43
“... the quantity of polonium of this purity used in the assassination of Mr Litvinenko
would have cost tens of millions of dollars if it was purchased... by end users on
the commercial market.”
Mr Emmerson went on to assert that the extremely high cost of polonium 210 was a
factor that argued strongly in favour of state involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
9.116 However, the evidence that I received on this issue was to the effect that the commercial
price of polonium 210 in 2006 was in fact very much lower than Mr Emmerson
suggested. DI Mascall gave evidence that a consignment of polonium 210 containing
many times the quantity that Mr Litvinenko ingested was sold in 2006 for US$20,000.44
9.117 Put shortly, I think that the issue of cost is a red herring. It does not assist in either
tending to prove or to disprove state responsibility.

43
44

Emmerson 1/156-157
Mascall 29/77-78

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

Chapter 8:

Russian State responsibility – motive
and evidence of similar deaths
and killings

Motive
9.118 In chapter 1 of Part 4 above, I have addressed at some length the question of whether
elements within the Russian State might have had a motive for killing Mr Litvinenko. I
have also referred, in paragraph 5.27 above, to the article that Mr Litvinenko published
in July 2006 accusing President Putin of being a paedophile.
9.119 I consider that there were several reasons why organisations and individuals within
the Russian State might have wished to target Mr Litvinenko, including to the point
of killing him, by late 2006. These reasons overlapped and their effect was no doubt
cumulative. By way of summary, I shall identify five core themes that emerge from my
analysis in the earlier sections of the Report.
9.120 First, Mr Litvinenko was regarded as having betrayed the FSB as a result of the
public disclosures that he made before he left Russia, in particular his claim that
he had been ordered to kill Mr Berezovsky. This idea of betrayal was compounded
by Mr Litvinenko’s campaigning activity in the UK. The two books that he wrote
accused the FSB of responsibility for the 1999 apartment bombings and of collusion
in organised crime.
9.121 Second, according to Mr Lugovoy the FSB also received information that Mr Litvinenko
was working for British intelligence, and that he had tried to recruit Mr Lugovoy to do
so too.
9.122 Third, Mr Litvinenko was a prominent associate of both Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed
Zakayev, both of whom were leading opponents of the Putin administration.
9.123 Fourth, the causes espoused by Mr Litvinenko – such as the FSB’s alleged responsibility
for the apartment bombings, the war in Chechnya, and alleged collusion between
President Putin and other members of his administration and organised crime – were
areas of particular sensitivity to the Putin administration.
9.124 Finally, there was undoubtedly a personal dimension to the antagonism between
Mr Litvinenko on the one hand and President Putin on the other. The history between
the two men dated back to their (only) meeting in 1998, at a time when Mr Putin
was the newly appointed head of the FSB and Mr Berezovsky and Mr Litvinenko still
hoped that he might implement a programme of reform. In the years that followed,
Mr Litvinenko made repeated highly personal attacks on President Putin, culminating
in the allegation of paedophilia in July 2006.
9.125 These themes overlap. Many of them are reflected in Professor Service’s observation
that President Putin, “almost certainly looked on what Litvinenko did after fleeing
abroad as punishable treachery”.45 I am satisfied that, in general terms, members of
the Putin administration, including the President himself and the FSB, had motives for
taking action against Mr Litvinenko, including killing him, in late 2006.
45

INQ019146 (page 15 paragraph 46)

227

The Litvinenko Inquiry

9.126 In his closing statement Mr Emmerson submitted that a causative link could be
established between the damning due diligence report on Mr Ivanov that Mr Litvinenko
had given to Mr Lugovoy, and his subsequent poisoning. He made a similar submission
in relation to the investigation that, to Mr Lugovoy’s knowledge, Mr Litvinenko was
conducting in relation to Mr Gordeyev.
9.127 As I indicated in chapter 4 of Part 5 above, where I have set out the evidence relating
to the Ivanov issue, there is a difficulty with the argument that Mr Lugovoy was tasked
to kill Mr Litvinenko as a result of him taking the Ivanov report back to Moscow. The
difficulty is in the timing. The evidence is that Mr Litvinenko gave the Ivanov report to
Mr Lugovoy in late September 2006. That was only a matter of weeks before what
I have found was the first attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko on 16 October 2006, and
only a matter of days before arrangements were made for Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun
to make that first joint trip to London (starting with Mr Kovtun’s visa application on
2 October). It was also some considerable time after Mr Lugovoy began to court
Mr Litvinenko, a process that had started with Mr Lugovoy’s call to Mr Litvinenko in
late 2004 and that continued in earnest with their first meeting in London in late 2005.
9.128 In summary, it appears from the evidence that the operation conducted by Mr Lugovoy
against Mr Litvinenko was already underway before the investigation into Mr Gordeyev
began, or the Ivanov report was drafted. I do not therefore think that either of these
matters was a fundamental cause of the decision to kill Mr Litvinenko. That said, and
although the timing with regard to the Ivanov report is tight, it is possible that one
or other (or both) of these considerations may have provided extra motivation and
impetus to a plan that had already been conceived.

The evidence of similar deaths and killings
9.129 At the beginning of a section of his first report entitled Political killings, 1999-2005,
Professor Service stated that, “there have been several killings of prominent critics
of Putin and his administration”.46 In the same paragraph Professor Service noted
that: “the evidence suggesting official complicity in these crimes is of a circumstantial
nature, and the authors who have specialised in ferreting out the evidence are
themselves well-known as critics who agree with the charges that the murdered critics
levelled at the Russian authorities.” Professor Service concluded that a number of
these commentators, including Mr Goldfarb and Mr Felshtinsky (who, of course, both
gave evidence to me), were nonetheless reliable in their factual assertions. He then
went on to list the details of a number of killings.
9.130 During the course of the Inquiry hearings, I heard evidence about the deaths of a
considerable number of President Putin’s opponents that took place in the years prior
to Mr Litvinenko’s death. In the case of some, there had obviously been a murder, and
the only question was who had sponsored it. Other cases were more complicated in
that there was a preliminary question as to whether the deceased had been murdered
or died of natural causes, and a secondary question as to who was responsible for the
murder if that was indeed what had taken place.
9.131 Anna Politkovskaya was undoubtedly murdered. She was shot dead in Moscow on
7 October 2006. As I have set out above in Part 5, chapter 6, she was a prominent
journalist and campaigner against President Putin. She and Mr Litvinenko were friends
and fellow campaigners for Chechen causes. Professor Service recorded that “most
46

INQ019146 (pages 18-19 paragraph 57)

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

observers” believed Ms Politkovskaya’s death to have been “a political assassination”,
with suspicion falling on either President Putin or President Kadyrov of Chechnya.47
9.132 Sergei Yushenkov was shot dead in a street in Moscow in April 2003. He was a
member of the Russian Parliament who had been one of the co-founders of the
oppositionist Liberal Russia party with Boris Berezovsky in 2002. He was also a
prominent member of the commission that had been established to investigate the
1999 apartment bombings.48 Marina Litvinenko recalled that Mr Yushenkov had met
Mr Litvinenko in London in 2002 or 2003.49
9.133 Another of the founders of the Liberal Russia party was Vladimir Golovlev. He was
shot and killed in Moscow in 2002. Mr Goldfarb said that his death, “appear[ed] to
have been a political assassination”.50
9.134 Professor Service noted that, “extrajudicial killings outside the frontiers of the Russian
Federation have sometimes been attributed to Russian security forces.” 51
9.135 The best known example of political assassination conducted by Russia outside its
borders during this period is the February 2004 killing of the Chechen Vice President
Zelinkhan Yandarbiev. He was blown up as he left a mosque with his son. Professor
Service stated that Mr Yandarbiev was “a strong critic of the Putin administration”,52
who had been a leader of the Chechen insurgency until going abroad in 1999. He
said that, prior to his death, Mr Yandarbiev had been conducting his anti-Moscow
activities in Qatar, where he was free from the risk of extradition to Russia, and that
he had been held responsible by the Russian authorities for the Moscow theatre siege
in October 2002. As to Russia’s responsibility for Mr Yandarbiev’s death, Professor
Service stated:53
“Three agents of Russian military intelligence were arrested in Doha and accused
of planting the bomb that killed Yandarbiev. Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Security
Council, was sent to put pressure on the Qatari administration. Two Qatari citizens
were taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetevo airport; they were said to be
suspected of connections with the Chechen insurgents. Putin wished to secure
the release of the Russian agents. He phoned the Emir himself about the matter.
One of the agents was allowed back to Russia. Two remained in custody until
December 2004, when they were flown to Moscow to serve out their sentences
in Russian prisons. The Qatari detainees were liberated as part of the diplomatic
bargain.”
9.136 A few months after Mr Yandarbiev’s death, in September 2004, there was an apparent
attempt to poison Viktor Yuschenko, the anti-Moscow candidate in Presidential
elections taking place in Ukraine. Professor Service recorded that Mr Yuschenko’s
poisoning was attributed to Russian security forces.54
9.137 Nor was this the only incident during this period of the suspected poisoning of
opponents of President Putin by Russian agents.
47

INQ019146 (page 24 paragraph 74)
Goldfarb 5/115; 5/121-123
49
Marina Litvinenko 3/141-142
50
Goldfarb 26/71
51
INQ019146 (page 19 paragraph 61)
52
INQ019146 (page 20 paragraph 62)
53
INQ019146 (page 20 paragraph 63)
54
INQ019146 (page 19 paragraph 61)
48

229

The Litvinenko Inquiry

9.138 In 2003, Russian politician Yuri Shchekochikhin died of apparent poisoning. Professor
Service described Mr Shchekochikhin’s career in the following terms:55
“Yuri Shchekochikhin was deputy editor of Novoya Gazeta and a campaigning
columnist over many years. Elected as a Duma deputy in 1995, he was active
in the struggle against corruption, against abuses in the armed forces and
against the wars in Chechnya. He denounced the official story about the Moscow
apartment bombings in September 1999. He frequently exposed malpractices by
FSB officers.”
Mr Goldfarb said that Mr Shchekochikhin did not lose his hair as he died but that his
symptoms had resembled those of Mr Yuschenko. He thought that Mr Shchekochikhin
had been poisoned with dioxins, rather than with a radioactive substance. He added,
“Everyone believed that he was poisoned... his family and his party, colleagues,
always claimed that he was poisoned.” 56
9.139 Ms Politkovskaya had nearly died from poisoning in 2004, two years before she was
murdered, when travelling to Grozny. Professor Service commented; “The identity
of the culprit was never discovered, but there was speculation that Kadyrov was
exasperated by her exposures of the human rights abuses in his republic.” 57
9.140 In 2004, an Islamist guerrilla leader named Ibn Khattab was killed by a poisoned
letter. Mr Goldfarb said that the FSB had claimed responsibility for this killing.58
9.141 In the same year, the Russian public figure Roman Tsepov died in mysterious
circumstances. Professor Service stated that Mr Tsepov: “was reliably said to have
liaised between politicians and organised crime in St Petersburg and to have been
close to Putin during his career in the city”.59 Mr Goldfarb described how it had been
alleged that Mr Tsepov had died from radioactive poisoning, and that many of his
symptoms – such as loss of hair and destruction of the immune system – had been
similar to those suffered by Mr Litvinenko.60
9.142 In the course of his oral evidence to me, Professor Dombey repeated an observation
that he had previously made in an article in the London Review of Books.61 He said that,
on the hypothesis that Mr Litvinenko had been deliberately poisoned with polonium
210 in a killing sponsored by the Russian State, it was reasonable to assume that the
poison would have been tested on others in advance. Professor Dombey identified
two cases that might indicate such testing. One was the case of Mr Tsepov, to which
I have already referred. The other was the case of a Chechen man named Lecha
Islamov. In the article to which I have referred, Professor Dombey had this to say
about the Islamov case:62
“In April 2004, it was reported that Lecha Islamov, a Chechen guerrilla commander
serving a nine-year prison sentence, had died after being admitted to hospital in
Volgograd with a mysterious illness. ‘Sources close to the convict,’ ran a report
in the Chechnya Weekly, ‘... suspect he may have been poisoned by Russia’s
55

INQ019146 (page 19 paragraph 58)

Goldfarb 26/26

57
INQ019146 (page 23 paragraph 73)

58
Goldfarb 27/114-115; INQ019146 (page 19 paragraph 60)

59
INQ019146 (page 19 paragraph 60)

60
Goldfarb 26/69; 27/114-116

61
Dombey 23/46-48

62
INQ006067 (pages 7-8)

56

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security agencies ... Islamov’s symptoms – including hair loss and massive blisters
– were said to be inexplicable to the doctors who have been trying to treat him.’
Islamov’s relatives said that he’d told them his jailers had summoned him several
days before his death for an ‘informal conversation’, during which he was given a
snack and some tea. ‘He began to feel ill within five minutes,’ they said, ‘as he was
being taken back to his cell’.”
9.143 Mr Zakayev gave a very similar account of Mr Islamov’s death when he gave oral
evidence to the Inquiry. He told me that Mr Islamov had been a prisoner in Lefortovo
prison, the FSB prison in Moscow, and that Mr Islamov had been convinced that he
had been poisoned by a cup of tea given to him by prison staff 12 days before he
died.63
9.144 What do these cases show that may be of relevance to the circumstances of
Mr Litvinenko’s death?
9.145 A note of caution should be sounded at the outset. As Professor Service observed,
the evidence of Russian State involvement in most of these deaths is circumstantial.
And even to the extent that Russian State involvement in any of these deaths is
established, it plainly does not follow from involvement in those deaths that the
Russian State was complicit in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
9.146 All that said, these cases appear to establish a pattern of events, which is of contextual
importance to the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death. These cases suggest that
in the years prior to Mr Litvinenko’s death, the Russian State may have been involved
in the assassination of Mr Putin’s critics; they suggest that those who were seeking to
uncover the truth about the 1999 apartment bombings may have been targeted, and
that living overseas may not have provided complete protection. Lastly, these cases
suggest that the Russian State may have sponsored attacks against its opponents
using poisons, including radioactive poisons.
9.147 I should make it clear that I have deliberately focused for these purposes on events
in the few years immediately preceding November 2006, since those events have
the strongest temporal relationship with Mr Litvinenko’s death. There have of course
been other deaths since that of Mr Litvinenko, including the deaths in the UK of
Mr Berezovsky and Mr Perepilichny and the shooting in Moscow of Boris Nemtsov,
but for reasons of relevance and proportionality I did not hear detailed evidence about
deaths and/or killings of Mr Putin’s opponents that took place after 2006.
9.148 That said, there is one event that took place in the summer of 2007 that I regard as
being of potential significance to the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death some
months earlier.
9.149 I heard evidence from Mr Goldfarb64 and from Mr Zakayev65 that in June 2007 a
Chechen named Movladi Atlangeriev came to the UK. Mr Goldfarb explained that
Mr Atlangeriev had “a long association with the FSB” and that the Metropolitan
Police Service possessed intelligence that he had come to the UK to assassinate
Mr Berezovsky. He did indeed attempt to meet Mr Berezovsky, but was arrested and
deported. It would appear that shortly after his return to Moscow, Mr Atlangeriev was
kidnapped and killed, possibly by a rival Chechen faction. If the intelligence that the
63

Zakayev 26/162-163
Goldfarb 26/118-121
65
Zakeyev 26/163-167
64

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police are said to have received about Mr Atlangeriev was true, this event is evidence
that at very much the time of Mr Litvinenko’s death, the FSB was prepared to arrange
the assassination of leading opponents of the Putin regime in London.
9.150 It is also convenient at this point to return briefly to the information that Mr Scaramella
received from Mr Limarev in October 2006, about which he wished to warn Mr Litvinenko
when they met at itsu on 1 November 2006. I have previously referred to this matter
at paragraph 6.287 above.
9.151 Mr Scaramella stated that he received a series of warnings from Mr Limarev in late
2006. He believed that the information Mr Limarev passed to him came from sources
in Russia, including serving intelligence officers. He said that at some stage prior to
the murder of Ms Politkovskaya (which took place on 7 October 2006), Mr Limarev
had told him about a list of “enemies” of Russia who were to be “eliminated”.
Mr Scaramella said that the list had included Mr Berezovsky, Ms Politkovskaya,
Mr Litvinenko, himself, Mr Guzzanti, Mr Gordievsky, Mr Zakayev and “probably even
Bukovsky”.66 Mr Scaramella said that he had spoken to Mr Limarev either on the day
of Ms Politkovskaya’s death or the day after that. Mr Limarev had told him that the
killing of the “targets” on the list had started. Mr Limarev had also warned him that
other individuals on the list might be poisoned with radioactive thallium, rather than
being shot.67
9.152 I have referred above to the emails that Mr Scaramella received from Mr Limarev
shortly before his meeting with Mr Litvinenko on 1 November 2006, and which he
printed off and showed to Mr Litvinenko when they were at the itsu restaurant on that
day. The emails that Mr Scaramella received from Mr Limarev focused on a report of
action being planned against Mr Scaramella and Mr Guzzanti by a group of Foreign
Intelligence Service (SVR) veterans known as Dignity and Honor. There was, though,
some mention of a risk to Mr Litvinenko – the earlier of the two emails stated:68
“Meanwhile above mentioned Russian intelligence officers speak more and
more about necessity to use force against PG [Guzzanti] and MS [Scaramella],
considering their ‘incessant anti-Russian activities’ – as well as against Berezovsky
and Litvinenko.”
9.153 I have also observed that Mr Litvinenko did not place any weight on Mr Limarev’s
warnings when they were conveyed to him by Mr Scaramella. It is clear, however,
that Mr Scaramella took what Mr Limarev had told him very seriously. He produced a
message that he had written on a piece of paper either on 1 November 2006 or the
day after, and kept on his person for the rest of the time that he was in London. He
may already have had it with him when he met Mr Litvinenko at itsu. The message
listed contact numbers and then stated, “Please contact also the police and security
services because I am in danger for my work at the Italian Parliament (Senator Paolo
Guzzanti). There are risks that I have been poisoned.” 69
9.154 I am obviously not in a position to make any findings as to the precise source (or
sources) of the information that Mr Limarev was receiving during this period, and which
was then passed on first by Mr Limarev to Mr Scaramella and then by Mr Scaramella
to others, including Mr Litvinenko. Nor am I able to make any firm findings as to
66

Scaramella 15/172-173
Scaramella 15/172-178
68
INQ013784
69
Scaramella 15/139-140
67

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whether there was a link between the information that Mr Limarev was receiving and
any plans that were in fact being made at the time to murder Ms Politkovskaya and
Mr Litvinenko – or indeed any others on the hit list.
9.155 What can be said, though, is that the warnings that Mr Limarev passed on to
Mr Scaramella and, through him, to Mr Litvinenko, were entirely consistent with the
points that can be drawn from the run of the cases that are described above. Leading
opponents of President Putin, including those living outside Russia, were at risk of
assassination. One of the risks they faced was that of being poisoned.

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Chapter 9: Russian State responsibility – links
between Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri
Kovtun and the Russian State
9.156 I have referred at paragraphs 9.135 – 136 above to the Yandarbiev case. In that
case, the fact that the three men arrested in Qatar for Mr Yandarbiev’s murder were
serving Russian intelligence officers provided a clear link between the murder and the
Russian State.
9.157 The question that arises here is whether any similar link existed in 2006 between
Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun (whom I have found to have killed Mr Litvinenko) on the
one hand, and the Russian State on the other.
9.158 I can deal with this point fairly shortly.
9.159 There is clear evidence that Mr Lugovoy spent a number of years first in the Ninth
Directorate of the KGB and then in the Federal Protection Service, and that Mr Kovtun
was for a time an officer in the Russian army. It is equally clear, however, that by 2006
neither man was still formally employed by the Russian State – Mr Kovtun having
deserted from the army in 1992 and Mr Lugovoy having left the Federal Protection
Service in 1996.
9.160 That is not, however, a complete answer to the point. I referred in Part 4 above to
the Russian saying that “there is no such thing as a former KGB man”. I have also
referred to speculation that Mr Lugovoy may have been an FSB agent tasked to act
against Mr Berezovsky and his associates (see paragraph 4.147 above).
9.161 That speculation was principally founded on questions that had been raised about
the genuineness of Mr Lugovoy’s conviction and prison sentence in 2002. It will be
recalled that Mr Lugovoy, who until shortly before his conviction had himself been
an employee of Mr Berezovsky, was convicted of attempting to assist Mr Glushkov,
one of Mr Berezovsky’s associates, to escape from prison. Mr Lugovoy subsequently
claimed to have served his 15 month sentence in Lefortovo prison in Moscow. However,
Mr Glushkov, who was detained there throughout the relevant period, said that he had
never seen Mr Lugovoy in the prison. Was Mr Lugovoy already an FSB agent by this
time, and only given a prison sentence in order to improve his credentials with those
he planned to target? Or was he perhaps recruited shortly after being sentenced, and
then secretly released in return for promising his services?
9.162 It has also been suggested that Mr Lugovoy’s thriving business career in the
years before 2006 was suspicious, given his conviction and previous links with
Mr Berezovsky, in particular since many of Mr Lugovoy’s business interests were in
the closely regulated field of security. This, of course, was the period during which
Mr Lugovoy was establishing his businesses in Russia and travelling to London to
forge business relationships there, including with Mr Litvinenko.
9.163 Was the true position that, far from being in disfavour with the Russian authorities
during this period, they were in fact supporting him? Had Mr Lugovoy been tasked
by the FSB to insinuate himself into a position of trust with Mr Berezovsky and
Mr Litvinenko?

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

Chapter 10: Russian State responsibility –
events since Alexander Litvinenko’s
death
9.164 It is apparent that Mr Litvinenko was not mourned long in Russia, at least not by
the government. Leading politicians made speeches attacking Mr Litvinenko and
even implying that he had deserved his fate (some of which I have referred to in
chapter 2 of Part 4 above). It has been suggested that British and German police
investigating Mr Litvinenko’s death received less than full cooperation from their
Russian counterparts. The Russian government refused a request made by the
British government to extradite Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun to face criminal charges.
Mr Lugovoy has been lionised in Russia. He has become a member of the Duma, and
indeed was awarded an honour by President Putin during the course of the Inquiry’s
hearings.
9.165 The question for present purposes is whether any of these matters amount to evidence
that the Russian government was actually involved in Mr Litvinenko’s murder.

Engagement with the criminal investigations
Russian aircraft not made available for testing
9.166 I have referred during the course of the narrative in Part 6 above to two occasions on
which British and German police investigators respectively were not able to inspect
Russian passenger aircraft that were of interest to their enquiries.
9.167 One of those planes was that on which Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun had flown from
Moscow to London on 16 October 2006 – Transaero EI-DDK (see above at paragraph
6.69). The other was the Aeroflot aircraft on which Mr Kovtun flew from Moscow to
Hamburg on 28 October 2006 (see paragraph 6.199 above).
9.168 I do not think that it would be safe to draw any inferences about responsibility for
Mr Litvinenko’s death from these two incidents. There is insufficient evidence to be
clear as to exactly what happened. Moreover, the two aircraft were operated by two
independent companies. Even on the assumption that the aircraft were deliberately
replaced on the schedules to avoid them being tested, there is no evidence on which
I can safely determine whether this was done at the instigation of the airlines to avoid
delay and disruption, or at the instigation of the Russian government, perhaps for
more sinister reasons.

Metropolitan Police Service visit to Moscow, December 2006
9.169 In December 2006, officers from the Metropolitan Police team investigating
Mr Litvinenko’s death made a formal visit to Moscow to interview witnesses. I heard
evidence from two officers who went on the trip to Moscow – Mr Tarpey70 and
Mr Slater.71

70
71

Tarpey 22/25-90
Slater 22/91-118

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

9.170 It was a theme of the evidence of both these men that the trip to Moscow had not run
smoothly. They described a large number of incidents that occurred during their stay
in Moscow that, to them at least, seemed to demonstrate obstructiveness on the part
of their Russian colleagues. For example, the British investigators were told that only
one British investigator (rather than two) could sit in on interviews, that lists of questions
had to be provided in advance, and that they could not make their own separate
recordings of interviews. There was even an occasion on which Russian officials who
were driving to an interview location in the knowledge that British investigators were
following in a car behind drove fast and erratically in an apparent attempt to lose the
British team.
9.171 Further, particular difficulties were experienced in relation to the interviews of the two
key witnesses, Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy. Interviews were cancelled at short notice
and then hastily rearranged, and when they did take place were rushed with limited
opportunity for the single British investigator present to ask questions. The British
team were told that the two men were being treated for radiation sickness, but when
they were interviewed they did not appear to be ill. Finally, when the interview tapes
that had been handed to the British investigators in Moscow were examined back
in London, it was discovered that there was no tape of Mr Lugovoy’s interview. The
Russian authorities had not provided any advance warning that there would be no
tape of this interview.72
9.172 In his closing statement, Mr Horwell QC, who appeared on behalf of the Metropolitan
Police Service, made the following submissions about these events:73
“Why be obstructive if there was nothing to hide?”
“The lack of full cooperation in Moscow with the interviews of Lugovoy and Kovtun:
stupid, petty obstructions placed in the way of the police officers who went to
interview them. The failure of the Russians to supply the tape of Lugovoy’s interview
perhaps says it all. The motivation obvious. The Russians wanted control of those
interviews, a control which was resurrected but a few days ago. Hardly a reaction
indicative of an interest in truth and justice.”
9.173 My observations on these events, and the inferences that may be drawn from them,
are as follows.
9.174 First, it is quite apparent that the British investigators did not receive the level of
cooperation in Moscow that they had hoped for, and that in consequence the enquiries
that they conducted during their stay there were not as full as they might otherwise
have been. It was clear to me that this was a matter that still rankles with those
involved, even now, several years after the event.
9.175 Second, there is no direct evidence as to the explanation for the conduct of the Russian
officials. I had hoped that one of the Russian investigators might have given evidence
to the Inquiry, in which case an explanation could have been sought, but this has not
transpired. I am well aware, however, that the procedures governing international
cooperation between police forces are complex and quite capable of giving rise to
misunderstandings. There are a number of possible explanations – good, bad and
indifferent – for what the British police saw as the obstructiveness of the Russian
officials. In the absence of any explanation from the Russian side, I do not think it
72
73

Mascall 29/67-69
Horwell 33/69-70

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

is possible to draw any firm conclusions. It would certainly not be appropriate, in
my view, to conclude that the Russian authorities were deliberately attempting to
undermine the British investigation.
9.176 Third, even if I did make such a finding, it would still be another considerable step to
find that the Russian authorities had acted in this way in order to conceal their own
involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s death. Standing alone, this evidence cannot justify this
conclusion.

Refusal of extradition requests
9.177 Russia has refused requests made by the British authorities to extradite Mr Lugovoy
and Mr Kovtun to face criminal charges in the UK. No inferences can be drawn from
this. Article 61(1) of the Russian constitution provides that, “A citizen of the Russian
Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State.”
9.178 Moreover, as Professor Service pointedly observed:74
“It was no surprise that the Russian authorities refused to comply with the British
request for their extradition to stand trial since the UK authorities had turned down
every Russian request to extradite Berezovski and other wanted Russian citizens
to Moscow.”

The careers of Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy since 2006
9.179 Professor Service had this to say about the careers in Russia of Mr Lugovoy and
Mr Kovtun in the years following Mr Litvinenko’s death:75
“A wall of protection was built around Lugovoi and Kovtun. Although Kovtun did
not exactly avoid public attention, he gave only a few interviews to the print and
broadcast media. His partner Lugovoi by contrast has paraded himself at every
opportunity. He was welcomed into the Liberal Democratic Party and became one
of its successful candidates in the Duma elections of 2007; he appeared on TV
chat shows and has recently been appointed an adviser to a television series
about spies.
The careers of Lugovoi and Kovtun since 2006 seem to me unimaginable without
high-level political approval. The fact that Lugovoi has joined Zhironovski’s Liberal
Democratic Party, moreover, is not a sign of Lugovoi’s alienation from the central
state authorities. It is a party that since the early 1990s has acted as a pseudocritical part of the tolerated opposition to whoever is President at the time. Lugovoi
is a prominent, officially-respected public figure.”
9.180 Professor Service expanded on these points in the course of his oral evidence.76 He
emphasised that Mr Lugovoy’s membership of the Liberal Democratic Party did not
mean that he was a political opponent of President Putin in any substantive sense.
Professor Service also drew attention to the importance that President Putin placed
on television as a source of public information and the control that he therefore sought
to exercise over it. Professor Service observed that, in those circumstances, the fact
74

INQ019146 (page 25 paragraph 79)
INQ019146 (pages 25-26 paragraphs 79-80)
76
Service 28/51-55; 28/100-102
75

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that President Putin had allowed Mr Lugovoy, “a prominent public role on Russian TV”
was a telling indication that he “has had favour shown to him by the President”.
9.181 In fact, during the course of the Inquiry’s open hearings an event took place in Russia
that provided unambiguous evidence of the esteem in which President Putin holds
Mr Lugovoy. In March 2015, President Putin awarded a state honour to Mr Lugovoy.
A Reuters report carrying the headline “Russia’s Putin honours suspect in Litvinenko
poisoning” stated as follows:77
“Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded a state honour to a man suspected by
Britain of using radioactive polonium to poison Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko
in London nearly a decade ago. The medal ‘for services to the fatherland’, second
degree, was given to Andrei Lugovoy for his contribution to developing Russia’s
Parliament, according to a citation posted on the official state bulletin.”
9.182 Mr Emmerson QC submitted that the fact that the award to Mr Lugovoy had been
made:78
“... on Day 22 of this Inquiry, after a substantial amount of evidence has been
called establishing Mr Lugovoy’s involvement in the murder of Mr Litvinenko, is
clearly both a provocation by President Putin and the clearest possible message
that he identifies himself with Mr Lugovoy.”
9.183 I have already expressed my conclusion that Mr Lugovoy, with Mr Kovtun, poisoned
Mr Litvinenko. Whether President Putin knew about this at the time is a matter to
which I shall come. However, I do accept that Mr Lugovoy’s award, given in particular
its timing and public nature, can only be interpreted as a deliberate sign of public
support made to him by President Putin.
9.184 Where does this analysis lead? There is clear evidence, as I have said, that the
Russian State in general, and President Putin in particular, has supported Mr Lugovoy
in the years since 2006. There is less evidence relating to Mr Kovtun, but it would
certainly appear to be the case that he has suffered no ill consequences as a result
of the allegations made against him in this country in connection with Mr Litvinenko’s
death.
9.185 It can be inferred from these facts that the Russian State approves of Mr Litvinenko’s
killing, or at least that it wishes to signal approval for it.
9.186 It would be a further step, however, to conclude that the conduct of the Russian State
towards Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun since Mr Litvinenko’s death demonstrates that it
was actually responsible in some way for his death. In my judgement, that would be a
step too far. Taken on its own, this evidence does not support that conclusion.

77
78

Mascall 22/130
Emmerson 22/1-2

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

Chapter 11: Conclusions regarding Russian
State responsibility
9.187 The open evidence that I have set out above establishes a strong circumstantial case
that the Russian State was responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death.
9.188 I draw attention in particular to the following points.
9.189 I have found that Mr Litvinenko was killed by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun. They had
no personal animus against Mr Litvinenko. I am sure that they killed him on behalf of
others.
9.190 Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun are both Russian citizens, who were living in Russia in
2006. They were both former members of Russian armed forces. Mr Lugovoy had
been a member of the KGB and latterly the Federal Protection Service. Mr Kovtun
had been an officer in the Russian army.
9.191 The evidence of Mr Glushkov and others raises questions as to a possible relationship
between Mr Lugovoy (who was clearly the leader of the two men) and the FSB in the
years up to and including 2006.
9.192 The fact that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium 210 that had been manufactured
in a nuclear reactor suggests that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were acting for a state
body, rather than (say) a criminal organisation.
9.193 Although it cannot be said that the polonium 210 with which Mr Litvinenko was
poisoned must have come from the Avangard facility in Russia, it certainly could have
come from there.
9.194 There were powerful motives for organisations and individuals within the Russian
State to take action against Mr Litvinenko, including killing him. Mr Litvinenko was, as a
result of his actions both before and after leaving Russia, regarded as having betrayed
the FSB. Moreover, according to Mr Lugovoy, the FSB had received information that
Mr Litvinenko was working for British intelligence. Mr Litvinenko was an associate
of leading opponents of the Putin regime, and he had repeatedly targeted President
Putin himself with highly personal public criticism.
9.195 I note in this context that Mr Kovtun told D3 during their conversation in Hamburg that
Mr Litvinenko was to be poisoned rather than shot because, “It is meant to set an
example”.
9.196 There is evidence suggesting that in the years prior to Mr Litvinenko’s death the
Russian State had been involved in the killing of a number of opponents of President
Putin’s administration, including those, like Mr Litvinenko, who had publicly blamed
the FSB for the 1999 apartment bombings. The pattern was of killings both inside and
outside Russia. There was evidence of poisons, including radioactive poisons, being
used in some cases. Professor Dombey expressed the view that the FSB had tested
radioactive poisons on humans, including in one case on a prisoner.
9.197 Although the strict terms of the 2006 laws did not permit the FSB to take action against
extremists (as opposed to terrorists) outside the borders of Russia, the evidence of
Professor Service was that the laws had a wider effect. He said that: “the authorities

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wanted to fudge that distinction [i.e. the distinction between extremists and terrorists]
and just create a new feeling for the FSB to feel free to act without constraint.”
9.198 Since 2006 President Putin has supported and protected Mr Lugovoy, notwithstanding
the fact that Mr Lugovoy has been publicly accused of killing Mr Litvinenko. During the
course of the Inquiry hearings, President Putin awarded Mr Lugovoy an honour for
services to the fatherland. Whilst it does not follow that Mr Lugovoy must have been
acting on behalf of the Russian State when he killed Mr Litvinenko, the way in which
President Putin has treated Mr Lugovoy is certainly consistent with that hypothesis.
Moreover, President Putin’s conduct towards Mr Lugovoy suggests a level of approval
for the killing of Mr Litvinenko.
9.199 In my judgement, these matters amount to strong circumstantial evidence of Russian
State responsibility for the killing of Mr Litvinenko. Having additionally taken into
account the closed evidence, my findings are as follows.
9.200 When Mr Lugovoy poisoned Mr Litvinenko (as I have found that he did), it is probable
that he did so under the direction of the FSB. I would add that I regard that as a strong
probability. I have found that Mr Kovtun also took part in the poisoning; I conclude
therefore that he was also acting under FSB direction, possibly indirectly through
Mr Lugovoy but probably to his knowledge.

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Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

Chapter 12: Russian State responsibility –
involvement of Nikolai Patrushev
and President Vladimir Putin
9.201 My finding that Mr Litvinenko was killed at the direction of the FSB gives rise to one
further issue. At what level of seniority was the plan to kill Mr Litvinenko authorised?
Was Mr Patrushev, the then head of the FSB, aware of the operation? Was President
Putin aware of the operation?
9.202 A number of the witnesses who gave evidence during the open sessions of the Inquiry
expressed strong views as to President Putin’s direct involvement in Mr Litvinenko’s
death. It is perhaps worth recalling that the first person to make this allegation was
Mr Litvinenko himself, in the deathbed statement to which I have referred above.
9.203 Yuri Shvets was asked whether, on the assumption that Mr Litvinenko had been killed
in an operation that had been authorised by a Russian State organisation, such an
operation could have taken place without Mr Putin’s knowledge. He answered as
follows:79
“I strongly believe that it couldn’t be done without Vladimir Putin’s knowledge,
because of one of the key traditions of the KGB. Any general, including Mr Ivanov
or any other FSB general, before issuing an order to assassinate Sasha or anybody
else in Russia or outside Russia, would think about covering his back just in case.
This is a KGB rule number one, cover your back, and covering your back is to get
approval from your superior, especially in Russia where they say about developing
this structure, straight line structure of leadership, where the boss – there is just
one single boss who makes all the important decisions. So I rule out basically the
possibility that a decision to assassinate Sasha or anybody else outside of Russia
would have been made without approval of the top authority of Russia, which is
Vladimir Putin.”
9.204 Mr Goldfarb’s evidence touched on the same issue.80 He said that, if it was assumed
(as I have now found) that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun,
and (as I have also now found) that the operation was sponsored by a Russian State
organisation, “then the question narrows down [to] who in the state structures could
authorise that”. Mr Goldfarb stated that he regarded it as an “inevitable conclusion”
that, “this can be no one else than Mr Putin”. He explained the reasoning that led him
to this conclusion in some detail, which I will set out below:
“One is it was already mentioned by Yuri Shvets here that traditionally this sort of
active measures from the Soviet times are authorised at the highest political level,
that’s number one.
Number two is that polonium is produced in a civilian agency which is Russian
atomic industry, ministry, Rosatom, and to transfer polonium to FSB would require
an interagency authority, and the only authority that could authorise such transfer
is the presidential administration. So it brings us to the level above the hierarchy
of the FSB.
79
80

Shvets 24/116-117
Goldfarb 26/130-133; 27/116-120

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The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr Patrushev, who was at that time the head of the FSB, could not single-handedly
order Mr Kiriyenkio, who was the head of atomic energy, to give him polonium just
like that. He … would have needed – that’s probably a question to an expert, but
that’s my guess in any case.
So that’s number two.
Number three is that nobody in the Russian hierarchy would initiate such an
operation without covering his back, as Mr Shvets said … not only for general
reasons, but for specific reasons that everybody knows in Russia, about a long
history of relationship with Mr Putin, Mr Berezovsky and Mr Litvinenko. It’s personal.

Nobody in his right mind, knowing how things run there, would authorise such an
operation when one could be sure that Mr Putin would take a very close look at it
after the fact. It’s not just an unauthorised operation, but it would be an unauthorised
operation specifically involving an issue which is very close personally to Mr Putin.
… I once said somewhere that it’s a crime of passion, not only the crime of politics,
it’s a crime of passion.
And finally, in one of the Wikileaks cable[s], the American official, by the name of
Daniel Fried, said that knowing Mr Putin’s attention to detail, we, meaning the US
administration, doubt that this could have happened without Mr Putin’s knowledge;
and to confirm that, I refer to the statement which was aired on Russian TV three
days ago, where there was a film on Russian TV featuring Putin, a long interview,
about him telling how they annex Crimea, and Putin said to the presenter: ‘the
reason why it worked so smoothly was because I personally micromanaged the
whole operation.’
The moment you delegate this to the structures, the structures screw up, essentially,
that’s what he said. So in important situations like this, only [I] can make sure that
everything is done perfectly, and this is kind of in the same vein as Daniel Fried
said, that knowing Putin’s attention to detail, he must have micromanaged it.”
9.205 In formal court proceedings, opinions such as those that were set out above from
Mr Shvets and Mr Goldfarb would not be admissible as evidence because Mr Shvets
and Mr Goldfarb are not independent expert witnesses. In this Inquiry, however, I
am not bound by the strict procedural rules that apply in court proceedings, and I do
not go so far as to reject these opinions as without value. That said, I must clearly
approach what they have said with some care. Although both men are knowledgeable
in the field of Russian history and politics, Mr Horwell was right to observe81 that
neither could (nor, no doubt, would) claim to be impartial observers of the events
surrounding Mr Litvinenko’s death.
9.206 But importantly, the evidence of Mr Shvets and Mr Goldfarb does not stand alone. I
also received evidence on these issues from Professor Service, who is an independent
expert witness.
9.207 I should make clear that Professor Service was not instructed to address in his report
the core issues relating to the attribution of responsibility for Mr Litvinenko’s death.
But parts of both his written evidence, and in particular his oral evidence, did touch on
81

Horwell 33/72

242

Part 9 | Chapters 1 to 12 | Who directed the killing?

the question of the likely involvement of Mr Patrushev and Mr Putin on the hypothesis
that Mr Litvinenko was killed in an operation sponsored by the FSB.
9.208 Professor Service said during his oral evidence that if Mr Litvinenko had been killed
by the FSB, it was “inconceivable” that Mr Patrushev would not have had knowledge
(and I take him to mean advance knowledge) of the operation.82 This evidence was
in line with the view that Professor Service had expressed in his report that, despite
the lack of irrefutable evidence, he found it hard to believe that Mr Patrushev had
not been, “somehow involved in some of the other killings under consideration in
my report” 83 – that is, the deaths of various of Mr Putin’s opponents to which I have
referred at paragraphs 9.129 – 9.155 above.
9.209 The question that logically follows is whether, if Mr Patrushev had advance knowledge
of an FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko, he shared that information with Mr Putin. On
this issue, Professor Service was far more cautious.
9.210 Professor Service was confident that President Putin reserved oversight of security
policy to himself. He also drew attention to the close links between President Putin
and Mr Patrushev, and to the latter’s long service as head of the FSB between 1999
and 2008. “The conclusion must be”, Professor Service stated: “that Putin generally
endorsed what the agency got up to in the years through to 2006 and beyond and that
Patrushev as its Director knew that he had his President’s support in its operations.” 84
9.211 Professor Service expressed the further view that he considered it to be very unlikely
that President Putin restricted himself to providing a general sanction to Mr Patrushev’s
broad line of action – he thought it likely, rather, that Mr Putin exercised, at the very
least, some oversight of Mr Patrushev’s activities.
9.212 But that simply begs the question of what level of oversight Mr Putin exercised over
the FSB. Professor Service readily accepted that he lacked the evidence to draw any
firm conclusion on this issue. He described the shortfall in the evidence available to
him regarding the working relationship between Mr Putin and Mr Patrushev in the
following terms:85
“… there is no available evidence for how much initiative was left to Patrushev
in the FSB. Did Patrushev secure Putin’s permission for operations in advance?
Or did he merely need sanction for a general operational strategy? And did the
relationship between Putin and Patrushev undergo change in the course of their
collaboration? These questions constitute an important nexus of known unknowns
about Presidential power since Yeltsin stepped down from office.”
9.213 Professor Service did draw attention in his report to one possible reason why
Mr Patrushev might have concealed an FSB operation to assassinate Mr Litvinenko
from Mr Putin, namely that the operation was part of a deliberate campaign by Kremlin
insiders to weaken Mr Putin’s power. Professor Service referred to this theory that had
been advanced by some commentators, but he did not endorse it himself.86 I observe
that it would also seem unlikely, given the duration and closeness of Mr Patrushev’s
ties to Mr Putin, that he would have been a party to such a plot in the first place.
82

Service 28/90-91
INQ019146 (page 27 paragraph 85)
84
INQ019146 (pages 26-27 paragraph 83)
85
INQ019146 (page 12 paragraph 37)
86
INQ019146 (page 6 paragraph 18)
83

243

The Litvinenko Inquiry

9.214 As I have indicated, Professor Service did not address the express question of
whether, if Mr Patrushev did order an FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko, it is likely
that he would have sought President Putin’s approval for such an operation. However,
drawing on the logic of his analysis relating to other matters,87 it appears to me that
Professor Service’s view on this issue is that Mr Patrushev probably would have told
President Putin about such an operation, but that the evidence available to him in
relation to this issue is so lacking that he regards the answer to be, at least at present,
unprovable.
9.215 Taking full account of all the evidence and analysis available to me, I find that the FSB
operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by
President Putin.

87

INQ019146 (page 8 paragraph 26); Service 28/69-70

244

Part 10:

Summary of conclusions

10.1 Alexander Litvinenko was born in Voronezh, Russia on 4 December 1962. He was
an officer in the Committee for State Security (KGB) and latterly the Federal Security
Service (FSB). He was dismissed in 1998 after he made public allegations of illegal
activity within the FSB.
10.2 Mr Litvinenko left Russia in 2000. He arrived in the UK with his wife and son on
1 November 2000. Mr Litvinenko was granted asylum in 2001 and became a British
citizen in October 2006.
10.3 In 2006 Mr Litvinenko was living with his family at 140 Osier Crescent, Muswell
Hill, London. He was a journalist and author. He also undertook investigatory work,
including preparing due diligence reports on Russian individuals and companies.
10.4 On the evening of 1 November 2006, the sixth anniversary of his arrival in the UK,
Mr Litvinenko fell ill. He was admitted to Barnet General Hospital on 3 November,
and was subsequently transferred to University College Hospital in central London
on 17 November. His condition declined. He became unconscious on 23 November.
At 8.51pm Mr Litvinenko suffered a cardiac arrest. Resuscitation was commenced
but terminated when it became clear that he would not regain spontaneous cardiac
output. Mr Litvinenko was pronounced dead at 9.21pm on 23 November 2006.
10.5 Throughout the time that Mr Litvinenko was in hospital, the doctors had been unable
successfully to diagnose his condition. In fact, the cause of his illness only became
clear several hours before his death when tests on samples of his blood and urine
sent to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston confirmed the presence in
his body of extremely high levels of the radioactive isotope polonium 210. Subsequent
examination of Mr Litvinenko’s body and detailed testing of samples taken from it
confirmed that he had died as a result of being poisoned with polonium 210.
10.6 As to the medical cause of Mr Litvinenko’s death, I am sure of the following matters:
a. Mr Litvinenko died at 9.21pm on 23 November 2006 in University College Hospital,
having suffered a cardiac arrest from which medical professionals were unable
to resuscitate him
b. The cardiac arrest was the result of an acute radiation syndrome from which
Mr Litvinenko was suffering
c. The acute radiation syndrome was caused by Mr Litvinenko ingesting
approximately 4.4Gbq of polonium 210 on 1 November 2006
10.7 There is abundant evidence that Mr Litvinenko met Andrey Lugovoy and his associate
Dmitri Kovtun for tea at the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair during the
afternoon of 1 November 2006. The forensic evidence shows that the Pine Bar was
heavily contaminated with polonium 210. The highest readings were taken from
the table where Mr Litvinenko was sitting and from the inside of one of the teapots.
No comparable levels of contamination were found in any of the other places that
Mr Litvinenko visited that day.
10.8 I am sure that Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal dose of polonium 210 whilst drinking
tea in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel during the afternoon of 1 November 2006.
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The Litvinenko Inquiry

10.9 I have carefully considered the possibility that Mr Litvinenko ingested the fatal
dose of polonium 210 as the result of an accident. I have also considered whether
Mr Litvinenko might have taken the poison deliberately, in order to commit suicide.
10.10 I am sure that Mr Litvinenko did not ingest the polonium 210 either by accident or to
commit suicide. I am sure, rather, that he was deliberately poisoned by others.
10.11 I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun placed the polonium 210 in the teapot at
the Pine Bar on 1 November 2006. I am also sure that they did this with the intention
of poisoning Mr Litvinenko.
10.12 I am sure that the two men had made an earlier attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko, also
using polonium 210, at the Erinys meeting on 16 October 2006.
10.13 I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun knew that they were using a deadly poison
(as opposed, for example, to a truth drug or a sleeping draught), and that they intended
to kill Mr Litvinenko. I do not believe, however, that they knew precisely what the
chemical that they were handling was, or the nature of all its properties.
10.14 I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were acting on behalf of others when they
poisoned Mr Litvinenko.
10.15 When Mr Lugovoy poisoned Mr Litvinenko, it is probable that he did so under the
direction of the FSB. I would add that I regard that as a strong probability. I have found
that Mr Kovtun also took part in the poisoning. I conclude therefore that he was also
acting under FSB direction, possibly indirectly through Mr Lugovoy but probably to his
knowledge.
10.16 The FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and
also by President Putin.

246

Appendix 1:

The history of the Inquiry and

procedures adopted

The police investigation
1.

On 23 November 2006, Alexander Litvinenko died at University College Hospital in
central London.

2.

Before Mr Litvinenko’s death, the police had already commenced an investigation into
his apparent poisoning.

3.

Once the investigation established that Mr Litvinenko had been poisoned with
polonium 210, which was discovered on the day of his death, the priority of the
investigation became the operation to protect public health. It became important to
identify members of the public who may have been contaminated. The Metropolitan
Police Service (MPS) worked with the Health Protection Agency (now known as Public
Health England) on this.

4.

Immediately following Mr Litvinenko’s death, over 200 police officers were involved
with the investigation. More than 60 scenes were examined and assessed. These
included hotels, offices, restaurants, nightclubs and bars, residential premises,
public transport vehicles, aeroplanes, a football stadium and hospitals. More than 40
requests were made for mutual legal assistance to more than 15 countries.

5.

On 22 May 2007, the MPS/Crown Prosecution Service (the CPS) considered that there
was sufficient evidence to charge Andrey Lugovoy with the murder of Mr Litvinenko.
An application was made to City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the issue of a
warrant for Mr Lugovoy’s arrest.

6.

Following further investigation, the MPS/CPS considered that there was sufficient
evidence also to charge Dmitri Kovtun with the murder of Mr Litvinenko. An application
was made to City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 4 November 2011 for the
issue of a warrant for Mr Kovtun’s arrest.

7.

In addition to the issue of these warrants, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun have been placed
on international lists of wanted persons. They both remain wanted for Mr Litvinenko’s
murder. However, they have both remained within the Russian Federation, from which
they cannot be extradited as they are both Russian citizens.

8.

Because they are both still wanted for Mr Litvinenko’s murder, the criminal investigation
by the MPS continues.

9.

The MPS also provided assistance to the inquest proceedings and the Inquiry
proceedings (the procedures in which are further described below). Officers of the
MPS have acted as Coroner’s officers in addition to their criminal investigation duties.
The evidence collated by the MPS formed the majority of the evidence available to the
inquest. Further, after the establishment of the Inquiry, the Commissioner of Police
for the Metropolis gave consent for his officers to continue to assist the Inquiry in a
similar role.

247

The Litvinenko Inquiry

The inquest proceedings

10.

The Coroner for the district within which the body of a deceased person is lying is
required by statute to hold an inquest when there is reasonable cause to suspect that
the deceased had died a violent or unnatural death. At the time of Mr Litvinenko’s
death, the Coroners Act 1988 was in force. This has since been replaced by the
Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Some of the terminology has changed, but the
fundamental principles remain the same.

11.

A Coroner’s inquest is a process for investigating the factual circumstances of a death.
It is a fact finding inquiry to establish:
a. Who the deceased was
b. When and where the death occurred
c. How the deceased came by his or her death
d. The particulars required by the Registration Acts to be registered concerning the
death

12.

The proceedings and evidence at a Coroner’s inquest are aimed solely at ascertaining
the answers to these questions. Expressions of opinion on any other matter – for
example, determining criminal or civil liability – are not allowed. However, the Coroner
does have the power to investigate not just the main cause of death, but also “any
acts or omissions which directly led to the cause of death”.

13.

Accordingly, on 30 November 2006, the then Coroner for Inner North London (Dr
Andrew Reid) formally opened an inquest into Mr Litvinenko’s death, and then
immediately adjourned it pending the continuation of the police investigation which
was already underway. The inquest remained adjourned for nearly five years whilst
there was thought to be a prospect that criminal proceedings might be brought.

14.

On 13 October 2011, the Coroner conducted a pre-inquest hearing to consider
whether the inquest should remain adjourned. He noted the position in relation to
the criminal investigation, namely that the MPS had made submissions to the CPS,
and that the CPS had concluded its consideration of the case. The extradition of one
person from Russia had been requested and declined. The CPS had indicated that,
although it would wish to proceed with a prosecution, this was not currently possible
and there was no impediment to the inquest taking place. The Coroner was satisfied
that there was no realistic prospect of any named individual returning to the United
Kingdom (UK) either voluntarily or under legal compulsion pursuant to an order for
extradition. The Coroner had received submissions from interested persons and
potentially interested persons asking him to resume the inquest, and in the absence
of objection from the CPS or MPS, he decided that the inquest should be resumed.

15.

The Coroner announced that he had appointed counsel and solicitors to the Inquest.
He stated his intention that the inquest team would provide continuity of representation
should a judge subsequently be appointed to act as Deputy Assistant Coroner to
conduct the inquest.

16.

The Coroner also addressed the issue of disclosure. He reached a clear conclusion that
the scope of the disclosure exercise should extend to all material as to Mr Litvinenko’s
personal and professional history that might affect the evaluation of the circumstances
248

Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

in which polonium 210 was administered to his body, how such administration occurred,
and all relevant wider circumstances. These criteria for disclosure were deliberately
widely drawn, because on the material that he had to date, there was no proper basis
to exclude from the disclosure exercise any of the competing theories advanced by
different interested persons.
17.

The Coroner listed those whom he considered at that time to be properly interested
persons under the Coroners Rules 1984, namely:
a.

Marina Litvinenko and her son Anatoly

b.

Mr Litvinenko’s children by a previous marriage

c.

Mr Lugovoy

d.

Mr Kovtun

e.

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as the Chief Officer of Police

f.

Boris Berezovsky

18.

Finally, the Coroner indicated that he recognised powerful arguments in favour of
appointing a more senior member of the judiciary to conduct the inquest. However,
the decision to make such an appointment was ultimately a matter for the Lord
Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice and the decision would to a degree be contingent
on the product of disclosure.

19.

In early January 2012, Lee Hughes was appointed Secretary to the inquest.

20.

On 16 February 2012, the Deputy Coroner (Dr Shirley Radcliffe) wrote to the Secretary
of State for Justice requesting the nomination of a senior member of the judiciary to
conduct the inquest.

21.

On 29 February 2012, the Secretary of State confirmed that, in principle, a senior
member of the judiciary should be so appointed.

22.

On 3 August 2012, the Secretary of State formally confirmed my nomination by the
Lord Chief Justice to act as Deputy Assistant Coroner to conduct the inquest.

23.

On 7 August 2012, the Deputy Coroner accordingly appointed me as Deputy Assistant
Coroner.

24.

On 20 September 2012, I conducted a pre-inquest hearing, the transcript of which is
available on the Inquiry website. The primary aim of the hearing was to give a public
update in respect of procedural matters. At that hearing, the Secretary of State for the
Home Department applied for interested person status. This was granted.

25.

On 2 November 2012, I conducted a further pre-inquest hearing, the transcript of this
hearing is also available on the Inquiry website. This hearing was intended to give
a further public update in respect of procedural matters, and also to ensure that the
next pre-inquest hearing could effectively and efficiently deal with the substantive
legal matters with which it was to be concerned. These issues were listed in written
directions given following the hearing.

249

The Litvinenko Inquiry

26.

On 13 December 2012, I held that further pre-inquest hearing. On 17 January 2013, I
gave a ruling on the issues argued at the hearing, including on whether or not certain
issues should remain included in the scope of the inquest. The ruling on the scope
of the inquest can be found on the Inquiry website. A list of issues was subsequently
published.

27.

On 17 December 2012, solicitors acting for the Investigative Committee of the Russian
Federation (ICRF) applied for interested person status. The application was made on
the basis that the ICRF was the Russian federal state agency responsible for the
pre-trial investigation of the suspected murder of Mr Litvinenko and the suspected
attempted murders of Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun. By active participation in the inquest,
according to the application, the ICRF hoped to contribute to and to advance both my
and its own understanding of the causes and circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death.
Although Russian law would not permit the ICRF to provide all of its files to me, as
an interested person the ICRF would wish to provide as much of the information from
its investigation as Russian law would allow and as the investigator recognised as
permissible. On 31 January 2013, I granted interested person status to the ICRF.

28.

On 21 December 2012, solicitors acting for Marina Litvinenko asked for a listing for full
argument of her application that the Russian Federation be designated an interested
person in the inquest. A submission to that effect had been made at the hearing on
20 September 2012, and repeated at the hearing on 13 December 2012. The Russian
Federation had not itself applied for interested person status. On 24 January 2013,
I gave a provisional ruling on the issue and invited further written submissions. On
25 March 2013, I gave a ruling refusing the application that the Russian Federation
be designated an interested person.

Government disclosure and public interest
immunity
29.

On 11 January 2012, the Solicitor to the Inquest made a written request for disclosure
of documentation by the government. Disclosure was requested of documents held
by all UK government departments and agencies relating to the circumstances of
Mr Litvinenko’s death. Specific requests were made for any documents relating to
the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s poisoning and death; the history of any contact
between Mr Litvinenko and any UK government departments or agencies; and any
records of risks and/or threats to him prior to his death, together with any action taken
or considered in response.

30.

In response to this request, the government collated material and made it available
for inspection to counsel and the solicitor to the inquest. Access was first granted for
inspection of this collated material in late August 2012. The process of collating further
material and making it available to the inquest team continued thereafter. In making
this material available for inspection, the government made it clear that it reserved its
position both as to the relevance of the material, and as to the making of applications
for public interest immunity (PII) in relation to it. This was done with the intention of
ensuring that the progress of this investigation was not delayed, whilst at the same
time preserving the government’s position in relation to disclosure in the event that I
determined that some or all of the material reviewed was relevant to the inquest and
should be disclosed to interested persons.

250

Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

31.

For the hearing on 13 December 2012, counsel to the inquest prepared an open and
a closed version of a note concerning the material which had been made available
by the government for inspection. The notes expressed a provisional view about that
material, as the process of making the material available and inspecting the material
was continuing. Counsel to the inquest noted that a significant proportion of the
material was of a sensitive nature. The government had made it clear that it was
very likely that it would object to the disclosure of the material to interested persons
on grounds of PII. However, it was possible to state high level conclusions as to the
effect of the government material. These related solely to the effect of the government
material taken alone.

32.

Counsel to the inquest expressed the view that the government material did establish
a prima facie case as to the culpability of the Russian State in Mr Litvinenko’s death.
However, it did not establish a prima facie case as to the culpability of the British State
in itself carrying out (by its servants or agents) the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko, or in
failing to take reasonable steps to protect him from a real and immediate risk to his
life. It did not establish a prima facie case as to the involvement of Mr Berezovsky,
Spanish mafia and/or other criminal organisations, Mario Scaramella, or Chechen
groups, in Mr Litvinenko’s death. It did not establish a prima facie case as to the
making by Alexander Talik of threats to kill Mr Litvinenko, or as to any more general
involvement on his part in Mr Litvinenko’s death. Counsel to the inquest said that a
conclusion to the effect that the government material did not establish a prima facie
case in respect of any particular issue was not to be interpreted as meaning that there
was no evidence at all on that issue contained in the government material.

33.

On 29 January 2013, I gave directions that any PII certificate was to be served by
15 February 2013, and for a consequent timetable for the determination of any PII
issues.

34.

On 7 February 2013, the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs (the Rt Hon William Hague MP) made a certificate claiming PII in respect of a
sample of documents selected from the material made available by the government
for inspection.

35.

On 26 February 2013, I conducted a public hearing to consider the PII application, at
which all interested persons had the opportunity to make submissions, as well as a
number of media organisations who were legally represented. The transcript of this
hearing is available on the Inquiry website. Following legal submissions made at that
hearing, on 27 February 2013 I ruled that:
a. I had jurisdiction to hold a private hearing at which to consider the merits of the
PII claim
b. Rather than hold a private hearing in which to address the adequacy of the
PII certificate, and specifically whether the claim could and should be further
particularised without defeating the claim under consideration, I would continue
with the private hearing to consider the merits of the PII claim. If in the course
of that hearing it became clear that the claim could be further particularised in
a manner that would not jeopardise the claim, and that I would be assisted by
further submissions from the interested persons, then I would reconvene the
public hearing

251

The Litvinenko Inquiry

c. It was neither necessary nor appropriate to appoint special counsel or PII advocates
to represent the interests of interested persons in the disclosure proceedings
36.

There was then a private hearing of the application, from which the public and most
of the interested persons were excluded, at which I considered the merits of the PII
claim in more detail.

37.

On 17 May 2013, I gave my ruling on the PII application, which is available on the
Inquiry website. I rejected part of the PII claim, and concluded that some of the
information that was covered by the PII claim could and should be disclosed.

38.

First, I concluded that a number of lines of enquiry could be identified as lines of
enquiry to which the documents that were the subject of the PII claim related. Those
lines of enquiry included amongst others:
a. The possible involvement of Russian State agencies in the death of Mr Litvinenko
b. The properties and uses of polonium 210
c. UK authorities’ knowledge and/or assessment of threats or risks to Mr Litvinenko’s
life in 2000-2006
d.

Decisions or actions taken to manage any identified risk

Some other lines of enquiry which I concluded could be similarly identified were
redacted in anticipation of a challenge to my ruling.
39.

Second, a description could be given of the types of sensitivity which underpinned the
PII claim, and this was set out in my ruling.

40.

Third, my ruling was able to state:
a. That I had considered the PII claim brought in relation to the material relevant to
the issue of the possible involvement of Russian State agencies in Mr Litvinenko’s
death and had upheld the claim
b. That I had considered the PII claim brought in relation to the material relevant to
the preventability issue and had upheld the claim
c. That I had considered the PII claim brought in relation to the material relevant
to an identified issue (which was redacted) and had concluded that some gists
could and should be given in respect of those issues
d. The terms of the gists which should be given (which were redacted)
e. That I had upheld the PII claim in respect of further material relating to other
issues

41.

On 31 May 2013, the Foreign Secretary commenced an application for judicial review
of the parts of my decision represented by the redacted parts of that ruling. In October
2013, a Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court (constituted
by Lord Justice Goldring, Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Mitting) conducted
substantive hearings of this application in public and private hearings.

252

Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

42.

On 27 November 2013, the Divisional Court allowed the Foreign Secretary’s judicial
review application and quashed my decision to order gists. The court made no formal
public decision regarding the lines of enquiry which I had concluded could be publicly
identified.

The steps to an inquiry
43.

In my PII ruling on 17 May 2013, I made some provisional observations about the
procedural consequences of the ruling. I identified that there was a choice between
considering issues such as preventability and Russian State responsibility on the
basis only of the available open evidence and disregarding the relevant material
which was known to exist but which had been the subject of a successful PII claim,
and withdrawing those issues from scope. Either way, that could lead to me failing to
discharge my duty to undertake a full, fair and fearless inquiry into the circumstances
of Mr Litvinenko’s death. However, I considered that it would arguably be better to
withdraw these issues from the scope of the inquest than to consider them on an
incomplete, inadequate and potentially misleading basis, which might be unfair to
interested persons or others who might be implicated including the Russian State.
I therefore invited submissions on whether I should ask the government to consider
exercising the power to order an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, which would be
able to hear evidence that could not be publicly disclosed.

44.

On 4 June 2013, following the receipt of submissions on this topic, I wrote to the
then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Rt Hon Christopher Grayling
MP). I set out my firm view that an inquiry established under the Inquiries Act 2005
was necessary if Mr Litvinenko’s death were to be properly investigated. I asked for
consideration to be given urgently to the exercise of the power to establish such an
inquiry.

45.

On 17 July 2013, the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rt Hon Theresa
May MP) replied to my letter conveying the government’s response to my request.
The Secretary of State said that the factors militating against establishing an inquiry
at present substantially outweighed those in favour. Accordingly, the government had
decided not to establish an inquiry at that time.

46.

On 9 September 2013, Marina Litvinenko commenced an application for judicial
review of the Home Secretary’s decision.

47.

Before that application could be heard, the Divisional Court had heard and decided
the Foreign Secretary’s application for judicial review of my PII ruling. Following the
Divisional Court’s PII decision, I asked for further submissions on the consequences
of that decision for the scope of the inquest.

48.

On 18 December 2013, I gave a ruling on whether the issues of preventability and
Russian State responsibility should remain within the scope of the inquest. I decided
that both issues should be withdrawn.

49.

On 21 and 22 January 2014, a Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the
High Court (constituted by Lord Justice Richards, Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice
Mitting) heard Marina Litvinenko’s application for judicial review. This took account of
my decision on 18 December 2013 to withdraw those two issues from the scope of
the inquest.
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The Litvinenko Inquiry

50.

On 11 February 2014, the Divisional Court allowed Marina Litvinenko’s application for
judicial review and quashed the Home Secretary’s decision. Accordingly, the Home
Secretary was required to make a further decision on whether to establish an inquiry.

51.

On 22 July 2014, the Home Secretary announced the government’s decision to
establish an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 to investigate Mr Litvinenko’s death.

52.

On 31 July 2014, the Inquiry was formally set up. On that date, I held a short hearing at
which the inquest was suspended, in accordance with the provisions of the Coroners
and Justice Act 2009, and formally opened the Inquiry. The Terms of Reference can
be found in Appendix 2.

53.

On 5 September 2014, I published the List of Issues which the Inquiry would consider.
This list can be found at Appendix 3.

The opening of the Inquiry and procedural
hearings
54.

At a short hearing on 31 July 2014, the formal setting up date of the Inquiry, I made a
statement setting out the history of the events which had led up to the establishment of
the Inquiry. I also set out procedural matters which would be dealt with in forthcoming
directions hearings.

55.

Open directions hearings were held on 5 September 2014, 16 October 2014,
14 November 2014, 17 December 2014 and 20 January 2015.

56.

In addition, preparation for the closed substantive hearings required a number of
closed directions hearings to be held.

Core participants
57.

On 31 July 2014, I invited applications for core participant status under rule 5 of the
Inquiry Rules 2006.

58.

On 5 September 2014, I announced that applications had been received from Marina
and Anatoly Litvinenko, the MPS, the Home Secretary (on her own behalf and as a
representative of the government), The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE plc)
and Mr Scaramella.

59.

Mr Scaramella’s application was refused, for which reasons were given in a written
ruling dated 9 October 2014.

60.

I granted the other applications.

61.

The solicitors for the ICRF, which had been an interested person in the inquest, wrote
to me to indicate that it would be making no application for core participant status in
the Inquiry.

62.

During March 2015, after the substantive hearings had already been under way for a
substantial period of time, Mr Kovtun expressed a wish to take part in the Inquiry by
giving oral evidence and by becoming a core participant. I summarise these events
below.
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Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

Funding applications
63.

On 31 July 2014, I also invited applications for funding under the Inquiries Act 2005.
Under section 40 of the Inquiries Act 2005, such funding may be made available to
allow certain persons having a connection to the Inquiry to receive legal representation
at public expense.

64.

On 5 September 2014, I announced that applications for funding had been received
from Marina Litvinenko and Anatoly Litvinenko, and from Mr Scaramella.

65.

I granted the application by Marina Litvinenko and Anatoly Litvinenko in principle, with
the precise terms of the award to be finalised following further submissions.

66.

I refused Mr Scaramella’s application as it did not meet the criteria set out in section
40(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005.

67.

Later, during the course of the substantive hearings, a further application for funding
was received from Mr Scaramella, who travelled from Italy to London on two occasions
to give evidence to the Inquiry. I allowed this later application.

68.

I also received and allowed applications from a number of other witnesses for expenses
and legal costs.

Closed evidence – restriction notices
69.

On 31 July 2014, I explained that the most important feature of the Inquiry, and the
reason why I asked that it be established, was that it would permit me to consider
closed evidence and hold closed hearings, from which the public, most of the core
participants and the press would be excluded. It would not have been possible to hold
such hearings at all during an inquest. I considered the reason why it was of great
importance to be able to hold at least some closed hearings was that the government
held some documents that were relevant to Mr Litvinenko’s death, but which were
of such sensitivity that they could not be used in open court. Had the proceedings
remained as an inquest, those documents would have had to be excluded from my
enquiries, in accordance with my PII rulings and the decision of the Divisional Court.

70.

Because of the sensitivity of the government evidence, it was inevitable that at least
some of my final report would also have to remain secret. But I have always made it
clear that I intend to make public my final conclusion on the issue of Russian State
responsibility, together with as much as possible of my reasoning in that regard.

71.

I announced that, on 7 July 2014, the Home Secretary had made a restriction notice
under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005, the effect of which was to require that
specified sensitive material was considered only in closed session, and that the Home
Secretary may make further restriction notices.

72.

A second restriction notice was made by the Home Secretary on 4 November 2014.
The first and second restriction notices were amended on 21 January 2015. Further
restriction notices were made by the government on 9 March 2015 and 29 June 2015.

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Anonymity – restriction orders

73.

In the course of the inquest proceedings, applications had been made for anonymity
orders in respect of a number of proposed witnesses whose evidence was to be
adduced although not necessarily orally.

74.

On 29 January 2013, I gave directions about the making of any anonymity applications.

75.

On 27 February 2013, the MPS applied for anonymity in respect of three witnesses
known as D1, D2 and C1.

76.

On 14 March 2013, I conducted a hearing at which these applications were considered.
For reasons which included the need by the representatives of media organisations
to receive more information before they could usefully make submissions on the
applications, the applications were adjourned.

77.

On 11 June 2013, I conducted a further hearing to consider these anonymity
applications, and a further anonymity application made by AWE plc in respect of a
witness known as A3.

78.

On 11 July 2013, I granted the application in relation to A3, but refused the applications
in relation to D1, D2 and C1. Because the applications were based in part on material
which could not be made public, the written ruling had a closed addendum dealing
with that material.

79.

On 4 October 2013, I conducted a further hearing to consider anonymity applications
in relation to witnesses known as C2, C3, D3, D6 and D7, together with a residual
issue in relation to D1, D2 and C1 as to whether there should be disclosure of the
contents of the closed addendum in relation to them.

80.

On 26 November 2013, I granted the application in relation to D3. Because the
witnesses C2, C3, D6 and D7 formed part of a group that also included D3, and
identification of any member of that group other than D3 would be likely to lead to
the identification of D3, I also granted the application in relation to them although the
individual merits of the applications in relation to them would not have warranted the
grant of an anonymity order.

81.

On the same day, I also ruled that none of the contents of the closed addendum in
relation to D1, D2 and C1 should be made public at that time.

82.

On 5 September 2014, at the first directions hearing following the establishment of
the Inquiry, all core participants and the media agreed that for the purposes of the
Inquiry I should adopt the anonymity orders I had already made during the inquest
proceedings. Accordingly, on 9 October 2014 a restriction order was made repeating
the anonymity orders which had been made during the inquest.

83.

On 14 November 2014, a further restriction order was made granting anonymity in
relation to a witness known as A1.

84.

On 27 November 2014, a further restriction order was made granting anonymity in
relation to a witness known as D9.

85.

Further applications were made in respect of these witnesses that, if they gave oral
evidence to the Inquiry, they should be screened from the public and the press. In
relation to all of the witnesses who were granted anonymity, I made a further order
256

Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

providing that if they were required to attend and give evidence at the public hearing
of the Inquiry, their physical appearance would be concealed from the public, the
media and core participants, but not from me, counsel to the Inquiry, counsel for the
core participants or security cleared Inquiry staff. Further orders were made directing
that their physical appearance need not be concealed from any other person whom I
directed.
86.

On 9 October 2015, I made a further restriction order granting anonymity in relation to
a witness known as witness G. By the time of this order, I did not envisage a need to
take any further oral evidence.

Broadcasting
87.

Under existing legislation, broadcasting was not permitted by law of any of the inquest
proceedings. Following the establishment of the Inquiry, broadcasting would be
permitted of such parts of the Inquiry proceedings and to the extent which I considered
appropriate.

88.

On 31 July 2014, I permitted broadcast of the formal opening of the Inquiry.
Arrangements were made with one broadcast company for a video feed to be made
available to other broadcasters.

89.

On 5 September 2014, I heard submissions about whether I should permit the
broadcast of the Inquiry’s proceedings, particularly the evidence which the Inquiry was
to receive. In addition, I heard submissions about whether the Inquiry’s proceedings
should be streamed live over the Internet.

90.

On 7 November 2014, I gave a written provisional ruling inviting further submissions
on certain aspects of the issue of live streaming of the Inquiry’s proceedings over the
Internet.

91.

On 14 November 2014, I heard further submissions on that issue. Those submissions
included evidence from the MPS about the responses given by some prospective
witnesses to the idea that their evidence might be broadcast, and the effect that might
have on some witnesses’ willingness to give evidence to the Inquiry.

92.

On 26 November 2014, I gave a written ruling giving reasons for my decision not to
permit live streaming of the proceedings of the Inquiry when it took evidence. Different
considerations applied to the opening and closing statements by counsel to the Inquiry
and by core participants’ legal representatives, which I would permit to be broadcast.

Text based communications from the hearing
rooms
93.

On 12 September 2014, I published a protocol concerning the use of live text based
communications in the hearing rooms.

94.

This provided that, in general, any member of a legal team, or member of the press, or
member of the public was free to use a mobile electronic device in the hearing rooms
to send and receive text based communications whilst the Inquiry was sitting, provided
that the device in question was used in silent mode and there was no disruption to

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proceedings. This was in practice superseded by the arrangements set out in the
protocol described in paragraph 98 below.
95.

I made clear that mobile devices were not to be used in the hearing rooms at any
time to make or receive telephone calls, to take photographs or to undertake audio or
video recording.

Public access to hearings
96.

For the substantive hearings, the Inquiry used Court 73 in the Royal Courts of Justice
as the main hearing room, together with Court 66 as an additional media annex/
overflow room. Proceedings in Court 73 were relayed to Court 66 by a closed circuit
videolink, and screens in Court 66 reproduced documents and the live transcript
shown on the display screens in Court 73.

97.

Normally, members of the media and the public were freely admitted to both hearing
rooms. However, because there was a risk that some of the sensitive information
protected by restriction notices or restriction orders might be disclosed, inadvertently
or otherwise, during the course of the open hearings, all open hearings were conducted
under one of the sets of measures set out in a protocol issued on 9 December 2014.

98.

Under the default measures:
a. The public and press would be afforded unrestricted access to the main hearing
room, subject to physical capacity constraints
b. Proceedings in the main hearing room would be relayed to the media annex by
means of a video feed that was delayed by 5 minutes
c. The use of mobile electronic devices in the main hearing room would be prohibited
to all persons other than me, legal representatives and security cleared Inquiry
staff
d. The use of such devices would be permitted (on the terms set out in the protocol
on the use of live text based communications in the hearing rooms) in the media
annex
e. A transcript of proceedings would be posted on the Inquiry website at the end of
each day

99.

Under enhanced measures:
a. The public and press would be excluded from the main hearing room, although
access would still be permitted for both the public and the press to the media
annex
b. Proceedings in the main hearing room would be relayed to the media annex by
means of a video feed that was delayed by 5 minutes
c.

The use of mobile electronic devices in the Inquiry room would be prohibited to
all persons other than me, legal representatives and security cleared Inquiry staff

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Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

d. The use of such devices would be permitted (on the terms set out in the protocol
on the use of live text-based communications in the hearing rooms) in the media
annex
e. A transcript of proceedings would be posted on the Inquiry website at the end of
each day
100. The hearing was conducted under enhanced measures when evidence was taken
from a small number of witnesses; Alex Goldfarb, Dean Attew and Akhmed Zakayev.
Otherwise, the evidence was taken under default measures.
101. In addition, the enhanced measures were adopted in modified form in relation to each
witness giving oral evidence who had the benefit of an anonymity order (this applied to
A1, C2 and D6). Those who were not permitted to see the witness’ physical appearance
were excluded from the main hearing room, and the relay of the proceedings from the
main hearing room to the media annex was limited to audio only.

Special advocate
102. On 27 February 2013, in the course of the PII application in the inquest proceedings,
I had ruled that it was neither necessary nor appropriate to appoint special counsel
or PII advocates to represent the interests of interested persons in the disclosure
proceedings.
103. On 5 September 2014, an application was made on behalf of Marina and Anatoly
Litvinenko for the appointment of a special advocate.
104. On 9 October 2014, I refused the application for reasons given in a written ruling on
that date.

Warning letters
105. Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 provides:
“(1) The chairman may send a warning letter to any person –
a. he considers may be, or who has been, subject to criticism in the inquiry
proceedings; or
b. about whom criticism may be inferred from evidence that has been given
during the inquiry proceedings; or
c. who may be subject to criticism in the report, or any interim report.
(2) The recipient of a warning letter may disclose it to his recognised legal
representative.
(3) The inquiry panel must not include any explicit or significant criticism of a person
in the report, or in any interim report, unless –
(a) the chairman has sent that person a warning letter; and
(b) the person has been given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the
warning letter.”
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The Litvinenko Inquiry

106. By rule 14, the contents of a warning letter are to be treated as subject to the obligations
of confidence set out in rule 14(1). The inquiry Chairman’s obligation of confidence
under this rule ends when the inquiry report is signed, and all other obligations of
confidence under this rule end when the inquiry report is published.
107. The fact that a possible criticism has been included in a warning letter, whether
written under rule 13(1) or 13(3), does not necessarily mean that the criticism will
be adopted in the inquiry proceedings or in any report. The procedural provision is
intended to afford the individual a fair opportunity to prepare for giving evidence or to
draw attention to reasons why the criticism should not be made. Accordingly, I do not
propose to publish the content of warning letters.
108. However, in accordance with rule 13, warning letters were sent as appropriate to
people who were covered by the provisions of rule 13.

The substantive hearings
109. On 27 January 2015, the Inquiry’s substantive hearings commenced. Opening
statements were made by counsel to the Inquiry, counsel for Marina and Anatoly
Litvinenko, counsel for the Home Secretary and counsel for AWE plc.
110. The Inquiry hearing lasted for a total of 34 days. Evidence was taken on 30 of those
days. A total of 62 witnesses gave oral evidence. A number of witnesses giving
oral evidence attended the Inquiry on more than one occasion to do so. Five of the
witnesses gave evidence from overseas by videolink. In addition, witness statements
of a further 20 witnesses were read, together with a further witness statement from a
witness who had already given oral evidence (Marina Litvinenko).
111.

In addition, a large quantity of documents was adduced in evidence. Some of these
documents were referred to and discussed by witnesses, but I simply put other
documents into evidence because it was not necessary for them to be discussed with
a witness.

112. It was originally envisaged that the Inquiry’s open hearings would conclude before
Easter. However, the overall length of the Inquiry hearings was prolonged by the
actions of Mr Kovtun, who is the subject of one of the two arrest warrants issued in
respect of Mr Litvinenko’s death.
113. During the course of March 2015, the solicitor to the Inquiry received a number of
communications from a man who said he was Mr Kovtun. He said that he was willing
to take part in the Inquiry and in particular to give evidence by videolink. He also
indicated that he wished to apply for core participant status. These developments
were notified to core participants, the public and the press at the substantive hearing
on 19 March 2015.
114. On 30 March 2015, I indicated that I was minded to grant Mr Kovtun core participant
status, subject to his fulfilling a number of conditions. Mr Kovtun had to give a
confidentiality undertaking in the same manner as all other core participants. He had
to provide a detailed witness statement, including a response to nine questions put
to him in Russia by Major General of Justice Krasnov, and a tenth question which
was added in a letter dated 5 March 2015 from the Inquiry secretariat to Mr Kovtun.
Further, he had to disclose any documents and other written material which he had
said in media interviews was relevant to the issues being considered by the Inquiry. I
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Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

fixed the date on which Mr Kovtun’s evidence would be taken, namely 27 July 2015;
Mr Kovtun would have to make himself available for two or three days.
115. In the days leading up to 27 July 2015, Mr Kovtun and the Russian authorities began
to raise a number of legal issues about whether Mr Kovtun could, under Russian and
international law, lawfully give evidence to the Inquiry. On that date, Mr Kovtun did
not make himself available to give evidence. I considered the matters which had been
said by Mr Kovtun and by the Russian authorities, and decided to give Mr Kovtun a
final opportunity to live up to his assertion that he wanted to assist me in the Inquiry
by adjourning the hearing until 28 July 2015.
116. On 28 July 2015, the Inquiry’s agent in Moscow reported that he had spoken to Mr
Kovtun that morning, and that Mr Kovtun had said that he would not be attending
to give evidence by videolink. Accordingly, the final items of witness evidence were
taken that day.
117. On 30 and 31 July 2015, closing submissions were made by counsel for the MPS and
counsel for Marina Litvinenko and Anatoly Litvinenko. Closing statements were made
by counsel to the Inquiry and by me, bringing the Inquiry’s substantive hearings to an
end.

Closed hearings
118. On 27 January 2015, when the substantive hearings commenced, it was envisaged
that they would be completed by Easter. On that date, I indicated that at some point
in the future, there would be closed hearings at which I would consider the material
subject to the restriction notices. Counsel to the Inquiry indicated in their opening
statement that these would take place after the open hearings had concluded.
119. On 31 July 2015, in their closing statement counsel to the Inquiry announced that
the closed hearings had taken place. The conclusion of the open hearings that day
accordingly completed all of the Inquiry’s hearings.

Miscellaneous procedural matters
120. On 30 March 2015, I heard submissions on a number of legal matters which were
relevant to the approach which I should take in reaching my conclusions.
121. I considered the question of whether and what standard of proof I should apply. There
was a consensus that I should adopt the approach taken by Sir William Gage in the
Baha Mousa Public Inquiry, which had been set out in a ruling of 7 May 2010. That had
itself adopted; “the flexible and variable standard of proof as applied [by Dame Janet
Smith] in the Shipman Inquiry”. At paragraph 28 of his ruling, Sir William concluded:
“For the reasons which I have endeavoured to explain I have concluded that it is
right for me to approach my task by initially adopting the civil standard of proof in
relation to findings of facts, but indicating where appropriate where I am sure of a
finding. As I have said, I shall record the level of satisfaction which I find established
in relation to any finding of fact. Thus, I shall state where necessary that I find a fact
proved on the balance of probabilities or to a higher standard where appropriate. I
do not think it will be necessary expressly to refer to expressions such as ‘inherent
improbabilities’ or the ‘bare’ balance of probabilities.”
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122. I agreed and adopted that approach.
123. On the same date, I also heard submissions on the question of whether I should or
should not draw adverse inferences from the silence of any individual concerned in
the events which the Inquiry was investigating, or their refusal to participate, and
in particular the silence or refusal of Mr Lugovoy, Mr Kovtun or authorities of the
Russian State. There was a consensus that there was no need or basis for adopting
the approach taken in the criminal courts to such silence. I took the view that a failure
to participate or to give evidence has the obvious consequence that I would make
findings of fact without the benefit or otherwise of such a contribution.
124. Further, counsel to the Inquiry made submissions to me about the approach that
should be taken to credibility generally if, on analysis of the evidence (including any
relevant closed evidence), it were to become apparent that some witnesses had not
given an accurate account of events in oral evidence. Counsel to the Inquiry submitted
that I should be guided by the principles which underlie the direction commonly given
to juries in criminal cases who have to consider what they make of the evidence given
by a witness whom they consider has lied. Such a direction is commonly known as a
Lucas direction, after R v Lucas [1981] QB 720. I did not consider it necessary to rule
on that submission.
125. On the same date I also considered the interplay between sections 2(1) and (2) of the
Inquiries Act 2005. These provide that an inquiry panel is not to rule on and has no
power to determine any person’s civil or criminal liability; but an inquiry panel is not to
be inhibited in the discharge of its functions by any likelihood of liability being inferred
from facts that it determines or recommendations that it makes. I considered that it
was difficult to deal in the abstract with the interplay between those two sections and
made no formal ruling on the issue.
126. Finally, I clarified the approach I would take to the interface between the open and
closed evidence and findings. I said that I would perform a global analysis of the
evidence adduced both in the open and the closed hearings. It followed that any
facts as found and recorded in the open section of the report will have been informed
both by the evidence that I heard in the open hearings and by the relevant closed
hearings. I stated that I would provide a single report to the Home Secretary, but the
consequence of the restriction notices and orders that had been made meant that
parts would not be published if to do so would be to damage national security or
international relations.
127. On 24 July 2015, I considered submissions on an issue which had arisen under
the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003. Evidence had been obtained from
Russia pursuant to a request made under that Act for the purposes of the criminal
investigation and any criminal proceedings. This evidence included the records of the
interviews conducted in Russia with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun.
128. In addition, the Russian authorities had given permission for that evidence to be used
in the inquest proceedings. After the ICRF was granted interested person status in the
inquest, it was formally represented at hearings in the inquest proceedings; at open
Inquiry hearings, its English solicitors were routinely present. The Russian authorities
were aware of the fact that the Inquiry was established to take over from the inquest
in the investigation of Mr Litvinenko’s death, and of the inclusion in the Inquiry’s Terms
of Reference that it should take into account the investigations that had already taken
place within the inquest proceedings. In addition, in September 2014 I had directed
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Appendix 1 | The history of the Inquiry and procedures adopted

that the inquest evidence would be adduced in the Inquiry in accordance with the
Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.
129. Notwithstanding their awareness of the status of the inquest and Inquiry proceedings,
the Russian authorities did not expressly extend permission for that evidence to be
used in the Inquiry. The part of the Home Office that deals with matters under this Act
wrote to its Russian counterparts both before and after the commencement of the
Inquiry’s substantive hearings, but no response was forthcoming then, or at any time
before the originally scheduled end of the Inquiry’s substantive open hearings.
130. On 17 July 2015, the Inquiry was notified by the Home Office of a response which it
had received on 15 July 2015 from the Russian authorities, declining permission for
the evidence to be used in the Inquiry proceedings.
131. On 24 July 2015, I heard submissions on the consequences of this response. I
concluded that section 9 of the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 precluded
the use of such material for any other purpose than that specified in the request,
namely the original criminal investigation and any subsequent prosecution, without
the consent of the Russian authorities. Accordingly, those records of interview could
not be used by the Inquiry.
132. I invited further submissions on whether, on the proper construction of the relevant
statutory provisions, I could admit evidence as to the content of the interviews from
the MPS officers who were present at the interviews, other evidence obtained by
the MPS during their trip to Moscow, evidence as to the level of cooperation of the
Russian authorities in arranging the interviews, and evidence as to attempts made by
a Russian official to pressure an interpreter to give an inaccurate translation of what
was said in the course of the interviews.
133. On 25 September 2015, following consideration of further submissions, I gave a
written ruling further concluding that it would not be permissible for me either to admit
in evidence notes about the content of the interviews, or to hear evidence from the
officers as to their content. But the statutory provisions did not preclude the admission
of evidence as to the circumstances in which the interviews were carried out, provided
that such evidence did not reveal the content of the interviews, either directly or by
implication; nor did they preclude evidence as to the level of cooperation of the Russian
authorities and as to their attempts to produce transcripts that did not reflect the true
content of the interviews, or any notes made by the MPS officers as to such matters.

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264

Appendix 2:
1.

Terms of Reference

Subject to paragraphs 2 and 3 below, the Chairman is to conduct an investigation into
the death of Alexander Litvinenko in order to:
(i) ascertain, in accordance with section 5 (1) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009,
who the deceased was; how, when and where he came by his death; and the
particulars (if any) required by the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 to be
registered concerning the death;
(ii) identify, so far as is consistent with section 2 of the Inquiries Act 2005, where
responsibility for the death lies; and
(iii) make such recommendations as may seem appropriate.

2.

That investigation is to take into account the investigations which have already been
conducted by the Assistant Coroner for the Inner North London [Sir Robert Owen].

3.

In the light of the Assistant Coroner’s views, expressed in his ruling of 17 May 2013,
(see paragraph 13 of the Judicial Review judgment dated 11 February 2014) that
there is no material within the relevant documents to suggest that, at any material
time, Alexander Litvinenko was or ought to have been assessed as being at a real and
immediate threat to his life, the inquiry will not address the question of whether the UK
authorities could or should have taken steps which would have prevented the death.

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266

Appendix 3:
A.
1.

List of Issues

Background
Alexander Litvinenko’s life in Russia
a. Personal life
b. Career in KGB/FSK/FSB
c. Relationship with Boris Berezovsky
d. Circumstances of departure from Russia and travel to UK, September –
November 2000

2.

Alexander Litvinenko’s personal life in UK

3.

Alexander Litvinenko’s work from November 2000
a. Work for Boris Berezovsky
b. Publications
c. Work with/for Mitrokhin Commission in Italy
d. Work for UK security firms
e. Alleged work for UK/Spanish intelligence agencies
f.

Any other UK/overseas work

4.

Alexander Litvinenko’s involvement in political campaigning, media appearances,
relationship with dissident/émigré community, 2000 – 2006

5.

Actual/threatened/perceived threats to and attacks against Alexander Litvinenko/
Boris Berezovsky/Akhmed Zakayev, 2000 – 2007

B. Circumstances of Alexander Litvinenko’s death
6.

Narrative of Alexander Litvinenko’s life/lifestyle during October 2006

7.

Alexander Litvinenko’s movements/meetings on 1 November and subsequent
deteriorating health

8.

Medical treatment/hospitalisation/attempts to diagnose

9.

Police interviews

10.

Immediate circumstances of death

C.
11.

Post mortem/toxicology evidence
Evidence from pathologists/toxicologists
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The Litvinenko Inquiry

D.
12.

Responsibility for death
Source of the Po-210 apparently ingested by Alexander Litvinenko
a. Properties/uses of Po-210
b. Scientific analysis of Po-210 samples
c. Legitimate trade in/international carriage of Po-210
d. Apparent documentary evidence of consignment of Po-210 at Yaroslavl,
August 2006

13.

Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun – backgrounds; movements October/November
2006; public statements since November 2006
a. Andrey Lugovoy background
b. Dmitri Kovtun background
c. Visit by Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun to London 16 to 18 October 2006
(i) Narrative – travel/movements/purpose of visit/meetings etc
d. Visit by Andrey Lugovoy to London 25 to 28 October 2006
(i) Narrative – travel/movements/purpose of visit/meetings etc
e. Dmitri Kovtun’s visit to Hamburg 28 to 31 October 2006
(i) Narrative – travel/movements/purpose of visit/meetings etc
(ii) Evidence of apparent recruitment attempt for poison plan
f.

Visit by Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun to London 31 October to
3 November 2006
(i) Narrative – travel/movements/purpose of visit/meetings etc

g. Andrey Lugovoy – public statements since 2006/polygraph test
h. Dmitri Kovtun – public statements since 2006
14.

Traces of Po-210 in London and Hamburg
a. Scientific context/methodology of testing for Po-210
b. Evidence of Po-210 traces
(i) Traces in London apparently associated with events 16 to 18 October 2006
(ii) Traces in London apparently associated with events 25 to 28 October 2006
(iii) Traces in Hamburg apparently associated with events 28 to 31 October 2006
(iv) Traces in London apparently associated with events 31 October to
3 November 2006
268

Appendix 3 | List of Issues

15.

Radiation poisoning suffered by Andrey Lugovoy, Dmitri Kovtun and others

16.

Alexander Litvinenko’s alleged involvement in blackmail

17.

Possible involvement of Boris Berezovsky in Alexander Litvinenko’s death

18.

Possible involvement of Russian state agencies in Alexander Litvinenko’s death

19.

Possible involvement of UK intelligence agencies in Alexander Litvinenko’s death

20.

Possible involvement of organised crime/Spanish mafia in Alexander Litvinenko’s
death

21.

The possible involvement of other third parties in Alexander Litvinenko’s death,
including Mario Scaramella, Chechen groups and others, for example, Alexander Talik

269

The Litvinenko Inquiry

270

Appendix 4:

Chronology

Date

Evidence

Source

4 December 1962

Alexander Litvinenko (AL) born in
Voronezh, Russia

Marina Litvinenko 3/19

1980-5

AL attended Ordzhonikidze training
Marina Litvinenko 3/24
centre for Interior Ministry Forces in
North Ossetia. Graduated as lieutenant
in or about 1985

1983

AL married first wife

1985

AL’s first child, Alexander, was born

Marina Litvinenko 3/15

1988

AL joined Committee for State Security
(KGB) as officer

INQ017734 (page 3);
Marina Litvinenko
3/24-25

1991

AL’s daughter, Sonya, was born

1991

AL was posted to KGB headquarters in
Moscow

Marina Litvinenko
3/27-28; INQ017734
(page 3)

16 June 1993

AL first met Marina Tsybin (ML)

Marina Litvinenko 3/6

1994

AL first met Boris Berezovsky (BB)

Berezovsky 25/6-7

1 June 1994

Anatoly Litvinenko (Anatoly) was born

Marina Litvinenko 3/12

7 June 1994

AL tasked with investigating attempted
assassination of BB

INQ017734 (page 3);
Berezovsky 25/6-7

14 October 1994

AL married ML

INQ017734 (page 2);
Marina Litvinenko 3/12

1994

AL transferred to Anti-Terrorist Centre
of KGB

INQ017734 (page 3);
Marina Litvinenko
3/27-29; 4/80

March 1995

AL prevented police from arresting and
taking BB into custody

Berezovsky 25/7

January 1996

AL present at siege of Pervomayskoye
and involved in freeing hostages

INQ017734 (page 4);
Marina Litvinenko
3/31-32

August 1997

AL joined Department for the
Investigation and Prevention of
Organised Crime (URPO) division
within the Federal Security Service
(FSB)

INQ017734 (page 5);
Marina Litvinenko 3/41

28 February 1998

AL visited BB and informed him of the
plot to assassinate him

INQ017734 (page
6); Marina Litvinenko
3/55-56

271

The Litvinenko Inquiry

21 March 1998

AL, Viktor Shebalin (VShe), Andrei
Ponkin (APon) and others told BB of
plot to assassinate him

INQ017734 (page 6);
Marina Litvinenko
3/55-56

19/20 April 1998

Interview with AL, Alexander Gusak
(AGus) and APon was recorded

INQ017734 (page 7);
Marina Litvinenko
3/69-70

July 1998

AL told Vladimir Putin (VP), Head of
FSB about order to assassinate BB

INQ017734
(pages 8-9); Marina
Litvinenko 3/71-72

17 November 1998

AL attended and spoke at press
INQ017734
conference, accompanied by VS, APon (pages 9-10); Marina
and Mikhail Trepashkin (MT). Extracts
Litvinenko 3/80-82
of taped interview televised shortly
afterwards

December 1998

AL and colleagues dismissed or AL
resigned from FSB. AL commenced
work as consultant for BB and
continued until March 1999

INQ017734
(pages 10,13); Marina
Litvinenko 3/82-83;
3/91

25 March 1999

AL arrested and charged with
exceeding authority as an officer.
Detained in Lefortovo prison for eight
months

INQ017734 (page 11);
Marina Litvinenko
3/84; 3/86

26 November 1999

AL acquitted at trial. Rearrested
in courtroom and charged with
manhandling suspects and stealing
goods. Sent to Butyrka prison

INQ017734
(pages 11-12); Marina
Litvinenko 3/87-88

late 1999-early 2000

AL released from prison and charges
against him dropped

INQ017734 (page 12);
Marina Litvinenko 3/88

spring 2000

Third set of charges brought against
AL and closed trial set to take place in
Yaroslavl. AL was warned not to leave
town without permission and passport
taken from him pending trial

INQ017734 (page
12); Marina Litvinenko
3/90-91

September 2000

AL told ML he was going to visit
relatives in Nalchik. However, after
arriving in Nalchik, AL crossed border
into Georgia

Marina Litvinenko
3/94-97

17 October 2000

ML and Anatoly flew to Malaga, Spain

INQ017734 (page 14);
Marina Litvinenko 3/96

late October 2000

ML and Anatoly flew from Malaga
to Antalya, Turkey, accompanied
by Yuri Felshtinsky (YF). AL was
already in Antalya and was joined by
Alex Goldfarb (AGol)

INQ017734 (page 14);
Marina Litvinenko
3/102

272

Appendix 4 | Chronology

31 October/
1 November 2000

AL, ML, Anatoly and AGol bought
tickets for flights from Istanbul to Tblisi
with connecting flight in Heathrow.
They arrived at Heathrow airport and
AL, ML and Anatoly claimed asylum

INQ017734 (page 15);
Marina Litvinenko
3/107-108

November 2000

Litvinenkos moved into flat in
Kensington, paid for by BB

Marina Litvinenko
3/114

May 2001

Litvinenkos granted asylum and
indefinite leave to remain in UK. They
changed surname and took name of
Carter

INQ017734 (page 15);
Marina Litvinenko
3/110-111

2001

AL and YF wrote Blowing Up Russia
in Russian and English, which was
published in 2002

INQ017734 (page 18);
Marina Litvinenko
3/131-132

2001-2002

AL wrote The Gang from the Lubyanka

INQ017734 (page 19);
Marina Litvinenko
4/133

21/22 March 2002

AL and ML repeatedly visited by
Victor Kirov, purportedly from Russian
Embassy

Marina Litvinenko
4/18-20; HMG000307

2002

Litvinenkos moved to
140 Osier Crescent, Muswell Hill

Marina Litvinenko
3/114-116

12 October 2002

MT sent email to AL informing him that
VShe had told MT that AL would be
sentenced to ‘out of court elimination’
after publishing his books

INQ015572;
Marina Litvinenko
4/20-23

2003

AL became friends with Akhmed
Zakayev (AZ) and Anna Politkovskaya
(APol)

INQ017734
(pages 19-20)

late 2003

AL first introduced to Mario Scaramella
(MS) and agreed to assist in enquiries
that MS was conducting for Mitrokhin
Commission. AL and MS met in
Naples and London on several
occasions regarding work for Mitrokhin
Commission between January 2004
and April 2006

Scaramella 15/93-94;
27/57-58

2004

Arson attacks on Litvinenkos’ home at
140 Osier Crescent, and also on AZ’s
home on Osier Crescent

Marina Litvinenko
4/24-26

2004

AL started consultancy work with UK
intelligence services

Marina Litvinenko
3/146-155

October 2004

Andrey Lugovoy (Lugovoy) came to
London to watch a football match and
met up with AL, although Lugovoy
stated this was in 2005

INQ002470 (pages
2-3); INQ016593
(pages 10-11);
INQ001788 (page 15)

273

The Litvinenko Inquiry

late 2004/early 2005

AL started work with Spanish
intelligence services

Marina Litvinenko
3/155-157

2005

AL contacted by Roman Shubin,
an investigator from the Ukranian
Prosecutor’s Office regarding the
Kuchma tapes

INQ017734 (page 22)

last quarter of 2005

AL took Lugovoy to meet Garym Evans Evans 7/31
at RISC’s offices

23 January 2006

AL and ML attended BB’s 60th birthday
party, at which Lugovoy was also
present. Lugovoy and AL subsequently
struck up business relationship

INQ017734 (page 30);
INQ018999; Marina
Litvinenko 4/15-16

first quarter of 2006

RISC tasked AL with making enquiries
into Russian agriculture minister,
Alexei Gordeyev (AGor), on behalf of
Stolichnaya vodka

Quirke 11/70-74

6 March 2006

VP signed Federal Law no.35-FZ of
2006 On Counteraction of Terrorism

INQ019146
(pages 20-21
paragraph 64)

April/May 2006

Lugovoy and AL attended a meeting
with Daniel Quirke and Cliff Knuckey at
RISC’s offices regarding Lugovoy and
AL’s enquiries into AGor

Quirke 11/79-82

April/May 2006

AL met with Dr Julia Svetlichnaya on
several occasions

Svetlichnaya 25/91;
25/94

May 2006

AL started working with Dean Attew
(DA)

Attew 13/17

18 June 2006

Break in at 25 Grosvenor Street

Attew 13/67

June 2006

DA met Lugovoy and AL at Heathrow
airport

Attew 13/45-47

June/July 2006

AL and Lugovoy met with Tim Reilly
(TR) at Erinys’ offices

Reilly 10/63; 10/68

second half of
June 2006

BB reduced financial support to AL

Marina Litvinenko
3/125-127; Cotlick
25/37-38; 25/41-43

June/July 2006

AL told Yuri Shvets (YS) that he had
been fired by BB because of some
intrigues

Shvets 24/56-57

5 July 2006

AL published article on Chechenpress
website accusing VP of being a
paedophile

BLK000134;
Marina Litvinenko
3/139-140

27 July 2006

Federal Law of 25 July 2002 On
Counteracting Extremist Activity
amended and received presidential
approval

INQ019146 (page 21
paragraph 65)

274

Appendix 4 | Chronology

July 2006

Lugovoy and wife visited AL at his
home whilst ML and Anatoly on holiday

Marina Litvinenko
4/16-17

August 2006

DA commissioned AL to undertake
enquiries into Russian targets,
including Victor Ivanov (VI)

Attew 13/25-26

late summer 2006

TR’s evidence was that AL and BB had
a big row about BB’s failure to follow
AL’s advice. DA also knew they had
fallen out

Reilly 10/23-26, Attew
13/23

September 2006

AL, AZ and AZ’s son travelled to Spain

Marina Litvinenko
4/32-33

19 September 2006

YS sent his completed report on VI to
AL

Shvets 24/72

around 21 September AL told YS he had passed the report to
2006
the client

Shvets 24/73

between 21 and
30 September 2006

AL told YS that he had already passed Shvets 24/73
YS’ report on VI to AL’s Russian source

late September/early
October 2006

AL and BB were reconciled

Reilly 10/23-26; Attew
13/23

7 October 2006

APol was murdered

Marina Litvinenko 4/33

13 October 2006

Litvinenkos granted British citizenship
and attended citizenship ceremony at
Haringey civic centre. AL and Anatoly
subsequently attended memorial for
APol at Houses of Parliament

INQ017734 (page 16);
Marina Litvinenko
3/112-113; 4/34

16 October 2006

10.48am. Lugovoy and Kovtun arrived
at Gatwick on Transaero flight UN333
from Moscow (aircraft EI-DDK 734)

Mascall 9/4-6

DC Scott stopped Lugovoy and Kovtun
at Gatwick Airport

Scott 9/38-40

10.59-11.37am. AL travelled by bus
and tube to Green Park

Mascall 9/83-84

11.45am. Lugovoy called Alexander
Shadrin (AS)

Shadrin 14/174-175

11.46am. Lugovoy called AL

Shadrin 14/175

Lugovoy and Kovtun checked in at
Best Western Hotel, Shaftesbury
Avenue (rooms 107 and 308)

Krgo 9/53; 9/56;
9/63-64

3.00-3.40pm. AL, Lugovoy and Kovtun
attended meeting with TR at Erinys, 25
Grosvenor Street

Reilly 10/81-85;
Mascall 9/123

AL, Lugovoy and Kovtun went to itsu,
Piccadilly (bill 4.22pm)

Mascall 9/101

275

The Litvinenko Inquiry

17 October 2006

6.04pm. AL boarded bus at Tottenham
Court Road

Mascall 9/84

Lugovoy and Kovtun visited offices of
EC03/CPL, 58 Grosvenor Street

Davison 14/119;
Shadrin 14/175-180

AL ate dinner at home, felt sick and
vomited once

Marina Litvinenko
4/34-37

Lugovoy, Kovtun and AS had dinner at
Pescatori restaurant (bill 10.39pm)

Mascall 9/113-115;
Shadrin 14/179-181

Lugovoy and Kovtun went to Dar
Marrakesh cafe (bill 11.05pm)

Mascall 9/115-116

1.37pm. Lugovoy and Kovtun checked
out of Best Western Hotel

Krgo 9/60-61

1.50pm. Lugovoy and Kovtun checked Rondoni 10/187;
in at Parkes Hotel, Shaftesbury Avenue Mascall 9/121
(rooms 23 and 25)

18 October 2006

19 October 2006

3.00pm-5.30pm. Lugovoy and Kovtun
attended meeting with AS at CPL, 58
Grosvenor Street

Mascall 11/126;
Davison 14/119;
Shadrin 14/181

AL, Lugovoy and Kovtun attended
meeting with Daniel Quirke at RISC,
Cavendish Place

Quirke 11/87-99

Alexey Valuev met Lugovoy at Parkes
Hotel

Valuev 11/127-130

AL, Lugovoy and Kovtun went to
Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant,
Gerrard Street (bill 9.49pm)

Mascall 11/132

Lugovoy and Kovtun went to Cafe
Boheme, Old Compton Street

Mascall 11/136

10.41pm. AL travelled home by bus
from Tottenham Court Road

Mascall 11/136

Lugovoy and Kovtun went to Hey Jo
nightclub, Jermyn Street

Mascall 11/137

About 3.00am. Lugovoy and Kovtun
returned to Parkes Hotel

Mascall 11/137

10.00am. Lugovoy and Kovtun
checked out of Parkes Hotel

Rondoni 10/193-194

Lugovoy and Kovtun returned from
London to Moscow on Transaero flight
UN444 (aircraft EI-DNM)

Mascall 9/5-6

AL spoke at Frontline Club regarding
the death of APol

INQ017734 (page 20)

276

Appendix 4 | Chronology

25 October 2006

26 October 2006

10.54pm. Lugovoy arrived at Heathrow
on BA flight 875 from Moscow (aircraft
G-BNWX)

Mascall 12/4-5; 12/11

11.35pm. Lugovoy called Vladimir
Voronoff (VV)

Mascall 12/26

12.10am. Lugovoy checked in at
Sheraton Park Lane Hotel (room 848)

Mascall 12/7-8

8.29am. Lugovoy called AS

Shadrin 14/188

10.09am. Lugovoy called AL

Mascall 12/63-64

10.30am-2.00pm. Lugovoy was driven
by chauffeur in Mercedes E-class
to Arkady Patarkatsishvili (APat)’s
house for meeting with APat, VV and
Marti Pompadour

Bonetti 12/35-42;
Patarkatsishvili
12/57-58

11.51am-12.30pm. AL travelled by bus
and tube to Tottenham Court Road

Mascall 12/67

6.00-7.30pm. Chauffeur drove Lugovoy Bonetti 12/43-45
from APat’s house back to Sheraton
Hotel

27 October 2006

28 October 2006

7.35pm. Lugovoy called AL

Mascall 12/65

Lugovoy and AL met at Palm Court
bar, Sheraton Hotel (bill 7.50pm)

Mascall 12/68

10.09-10.58pm. AL travelled by tube to
East Finchley

Mascall 12/69-70

11.30am. Lugovoy attended meeting
with AS at EC03/CPL, 58 Grosvenor
Street (meeting lasted 3-4 hours)

Davison 14/120;
Shadrin 14/188;
Mascall 12/72-76

2.21pm. AL called Lugovoy

Mascall 12/78

5.06pm. AL purchased two sim cards

Mascall 12/81-83

Lugovoy and AL met at Palm Court
bar, Sheraton Hotel (bill 5.21pm)

Mascall 12/84

6.36pm. AL travelled home by tube

Mascall 12/84

Lugovoy attended meeting with BB at
Berezovsky’s offices, Down Street

Mascall 8/63­
68; 16/42-43;
Glushkov 17/4-20;
Berezovsky 25/23

Lugovoy met VV for dinner

Mascall 12/86-89

5.34am. Lugovoy checked out of
Sheraton Hotel

Mascall 12/8

9.10am. Lugovoy left London on
BA flight 872 to Moscow (aircraft
G-BNWX)

Mascall 12/5; 12/91-92

277

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Kovtun flew from Moscow to Hamburg
on Aeroflot flight RA85663

Mascall 24/2

Kovtun was collected from Hamburg
airport by Marina Wall

Mascall 24/3; Marina
Wall 32/60

Kovtun stayed at Marina Wall’s house

Mascall 24/3; Marina
Wall 32/61

29 October 2006

Kovtun stayed at Elenora Wall’s house

Mascall 24/6; Elenora
Wall 32/76-78

30 October 2006

Marina Wall took Kovtun to aliens
registration office

Mascall 24/7-8

Kovtun met D3 at Tarantella restaurant

Mascall 24/9; D3
30/54-55

7.14pm. D7 called C2

D7 30/152

Kovtun stayed at D3’s flat

Mascall 24/8; D3
30/59-60

AL/YS submitted due diligence report
on Kirill Shubskiy

Attew 13/30-31

7.11am. Tatiana Lugovoya and Maxim
Begak arrived at Heathrow on BA flight
881 from Moscow (aircraft G-EUUG)

Mascall 13/171-172;
13/187

AL visited DA at Titon, 25 Grosvenor
Street

Attew 13/51-52

4.00pm. AL had a meeting at
Waterstones, Piccadilly. He drank hot
chocolate and ate some croissants

Hyatt 5/47-48

4.36pm. Tatiana Lugovoya checked in
at Millennium Hotel

Mascall 13/191-192

Maxim Begak checked in at Regency
Hotel (room 404)

Mascall 13/188

AL visited AZ’s house during evening.
He took sweets for AZ’s children and
drank tea with AZ

Hyatt 5/50

6.35pm. Lugovoy, Svetlana, Galina
and Igor Lugovoy and Viacheslav
Sokolenko (VSok) arrived at Heathrow
on BA flight 873 from Moscow (aircraft
G-BNWB)

Mascall 13/192-193

7.14pm. D7 called C2

C2 24/31

8.03pm. Lugovoy and others arrived at
Millennium Hotel

Mascall 16/13

31 October 2006

278

Appendix 4 | Chronology

8.20pm. Lugovoy checked in at
Millennium Hotel (Lugovoy and
Svetlana and Igor Lugovoy – room
441, Tatiana and Galina Lugovoya –
room 101, VSok – room 382)

Mascall 16/17-19

MS arrived at Stansted on Easyjet
flight from Naples

Scaramella 15/123

9.03pm. Lugovoy called AL

Mascall 16/23

MS checked in at Thistle Hotel, Victoria Scaramella 15/123
1 November 2006

7.25am. Kovtun arrived at Gatwick
on Germanwings flight 4U7342 from
Hamburg

Mascall 13/176;
16/26-27

8.33am. Kovtun arrived at Millennium
Hotel (room 382)

Mascall 16/30

MS attended International Maritime
Organisation (IMO) conference at
International Coffee Organisation
(ICO), London

Scaramella
15/102-125

10.00am. MS called AL

Mascall 16/59

10.26am. Svetlana, Tatiana, Galina
and Igor Lugovoy and VSok went on
Big Bus Company sightseeing tour

Mascall 16/36-38

Lugovoy collected football tickets from
Berezovsky’s office, Down Street

Mascall 16/203;
Berezovsky 25/23

11.33am. Kovtun used Lugovoy’s
phone to call C2

Mascall 16/51; C2
24/33

Lugovoy called AL

Mascall 16/52

12.00-3.30pm. Lugovoy and Kovtun
attended meeting with AS at EC03/
CPL, 58 Grosvenor Street

Davison 14/124;
Shadrin 14/191;
Gorokov 13/149-150;
Mascall 16/45;16/49

MS had lunch at Pizza Hut

Scaramella 15/125

12.29-1.34pm. AL travelled by bus and
tube to Oxford Circus

Mascall 16/64

MS printed off email at internet cafe on
Wardour Street

Scaramella
15/125-126

2.00pm. AL briefly visited DA at Titon,
25 Grosvenor Street

Attew 13/53; Mascall
16/67-69; Hyatt 5/4-5

AL visited Alexander Tabunov at
market stall in St James’ market,
Piccadilly

Tabunov 13/135-136;
Mascall 16/69;
Hyatt 5/6-7

2.32pm & 2.55pm. AL called Lugovoy

Mascall 16/71

279

The Litvinenko Inquiry

2 November 2006

3.00pm. AL met MS at Eros statue,
Piccadilly Circus

Scaramella
15/124-125; Mascall
16/58-59; Hyatt 5/7

3.10-3.40pm. AL and MS went to itsu,
Piccadilly; AL ate some food

Scaramella 15/129;
Mascall 16/74

About 3.30pm. Lugovoy and Kovtun
arrived back at Millennium Hotel

Mascall 16/87

3.32pm. Lugovoy visited gentlemen’s
lavatories at Millennium Hotel

Mascall 16/90

3.45pm. Kovtun visited gentlemen’s
lavatories at Millennium Hotel

Mascall 16/90

MS returned to ICO for IMO
conference

Scaramella 15/136

About 4.00pm. AL arrived at
Millennium Hotel

Shadrin 14/195;
Mascall 16/87

4.00pm. Lugovoy called VV

Shadrin 14/195

4.00-4.30pm. Meeting with Lugovoy,
Kovtun and AL at Pine Bar, Millennium
Hotel

Andrade 16/118-131;
Mascall 16/152;
Hyatt 5/9-25

Kovtun went to his room (382),
Millennium Hotel

Mascall 16/214

Lugovoy and family, VSok,
Maxim Begak and Alexey Valuev went
to Aberdeen Steakhouse, Coventry
Street

Mascall 16/211-213

AL used photocopier at Berezovsky’s
office, Down Street

Voronkov 16/197;
Berezovsky 25/15-16;
Hyatt 5/29-31

AL got a lift home with Yaragi Abdul
and AZ in AZ’s car

Abdul 17/87-105;
Hyatt 5/31-38

Lugovoy and family, VSok, Maxim
Begak and Alexey Valuev attended
football match at Emirates stadium

Mascall 16/214

AL became ill during night and started
to vomit

Marina Litvinenko
4/49-51; Hyatt 5/40

ML called Yuri Prikazchikov

Marina Litvinenko 4/52

4.00pm. Lugovoy arrived at offices of
EC03/CPL, 58 Grosvenor Street

Davison 14/134

5.20pm. Lugovoy, Kovtun and Igor
Lugovoy arrived at offices of EC03/
CPL, 58 Grosvenor Street

Davison 14/129

5.47pm. C2 called Lugovoy’s phone

C2 24/37

280

Appendix 4 | Chronology

7.00pm. Lugovoy went to Pescatori
restaurant

Mascall 17/78

1.55am. Ambulance attended call out
to AL, Osier Crescent

Cole 17/119-122;
Schofield 17/122-124

About 12.30pm. Lugovoy and others
flew from Heathrow on BA flight 874 to
Moscow (aircraft G-BZHA)

Mascall 13/171-172;
17/82-83

About 2.00pm. Yuri Prikazchikov
visited AL, Osier Crescent

Prikazchikov
17/110-115; Marina
Litvinenko 4/54-55

4.10pm. Ambulance attended call out
to AL, Osier Crescent

Baxter 17/126-127

MS returned to Naples from London

Scaramella 15/140

AL admitted to Barnet Hospital

Virchis 18/5

17 November 2006

AL transferred to University College
Hospital

Virchis 18/72

22 November 2006

Urine test results suggested that AL
suffering from polonium poisoning

Timmons 22/7

23 November 2006

Further testing of AL’s urine confirmed
he had been poisoned with polonium.
At 8.51pm, AL was pronounced dead

Timmons 22/10;
Down 18/144

3 November 2006

281

The Litvinenko Inquiry

282

Appendix 5:
Title

Dramatis personae

Forename

Surname

A1

Nuclear forensic scientist and senior
case officer, formerly employed by
Atomic Weapons Establishment.
Involved in identifying and analysing
contaminated material

C2

Born in Albania, moved to Germany
in 1994 and started work at Il Porto
restaurant in Hamburg in 1995/6.
Moved to UK in August 2001 and now
UK citizen

D3

Staff manager at Il Porto. Hired Dmitri
Kovtun in 1996 and remained friends
after ceased working at Il Porto

D4

Owner of Il Porto

D6

Worked at Il Porto with C2, D7 and
Kovtun

D7

Kosovan Albanian. Travelled to
Germany in 1993 and worked at Il
Porto as assistant chef from 1996 to
July 2006. Remained friends with C2

Mr

Yaragi

Abdul

Present in Akhmed Zakayev’s car
when Zakayev collected AL from
Berezovsky’s office on 1 November
2006

Mr

Sergey

Abeltsev

Russian MP who commented on AL’s
death in a speech in the Duma

Mr

Roman

Abramovich

Russian businessman and former
business associate of Mr Berezovsky

Mr

Noberto

Andrade

Head barman at the Pine Bar, the
Millennium Hotel

Professor

Christopher

Andrew

Professor of Modern and
Contemporary History, University of
Cambridge. Co-authored publications
with Oleg Gordievsky and Vasili
Mitrokhin

Mr

Movladi

Atlangeriev

Chechen national who allegedly had “a
long association with the FSB”. Came
to UK in June 2007, possibly to attempt
to assassinate Mr Berezovsky. Was
arrested and deported

283

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr

Dean

Attew

Director of Titon International (a
subsidiary of Erinys International)
with John Holmes. Tasked AL with
preparing due diligence reports on
Russian individuals

Mr

Charles

Balfour

Chairman of Continental Petroleum Ltd

Mr

David

Barlow

Head of Transport Compliance sub­
programme, Head of Profession of the
Transport Inspection and Enforcement
Specialism and a Superintending
Inspector of the Office for Nuclear
Regulation

Mr

Nikolay

Barsukov

FSB investigator who charged AL
following 1998 press conference

Mr

Andrey

Batmanov

Former Head of Consular Department,
Russian Embassy, London

Mr

Nicholas

Baxter

Paramedic, attended AL on
3 November 2006 and took him to
Barnet Hospital

Mr

Maxim

Begak

Tatiana Lugovoya’s boyfriend

Lord

Timothy

Bell

Founder of Bell Pottinger,
public relations firm. Involved in
commissioning AL’s death bed
photograph

Mr

Boris

Berezovsky

Russian dissident, oligarch, benefactor
and friend of AL. Critic of President
Putin. Claimed asylum in UK in 2000.
(Deceased)

Dr

Stuart

Black

Scientist and senior lecturer
specialising in environmental
radioactivity. Involved in identifying and
analysing contaminated material

Mr

Bruno

Bonetti

Chauffeur. Drove Andrey Lugovoy
from Sheraton Hotel to Arkady
Patarkatsishvili’s house in Leatherhead
and back again

Mr

Vladimir

Bukovsky

Russian dissident. Released to the
West in 1976. Formed very strong
friendship in the UK with AL

Professor

Ray

Bull

Expert witness. Professor of Criminal
Investigation and Forensic Psychology.
Expert on witness testimony and
investigative interviewing techniques

284

Appendix 5 | Dramatis personae

Mr

Bruce

Burgess

Polygraph examiner. Conducted
polygraph test on Lugovoy in Moscow
on 22 April 2012

Mr

Tristam

Burgess

Polygraph examiner. Assisted Bruce
Burgess in conducting polygraph test
on Lugovoy in Moscow on
22 April 2012

Byron

Senior manager of Harvest and Hicks

Mr
Mr

Anthony

Carter

Alias adopted by Anatoly Litvinenko
when granted asylum in the UK

Mr

Edwin Redwald

Carter

Alias adopted by Alexander Litvinenko
when granted asylum in the UK

Mrs

Marie Anne

Carter

Alias adopted by Marina Litvinenko
when granted asylum in the UK

Dr

Nathaniel

Cary

Consultant forensic pathologist,
performed post mortem on AL

Ms

Julia

Cole

Ambulance technician, attended AL on
3 November 2006

Mr

Michael

Cotlick

Personal assistant to Berezovsky

Mr

Alan

Cowell

British journalist, senior correspondent
for New York Times and author of The
Terminal Spy

Dr

Dean

Creer

AL’s consultant at Barnet Hospital

Mr

Duncan

Cunningham

Customer in Pine Bar, Millennium
Hotel, on 1 November 2006

Professor

Paul

Dargan

Professor of clinical toxicology and
consultant physician at Guy’s Hospital
poisons unit

Mrs

Dariya

Davison

Executive assistant to Alexander
Shadrin

Professor

Norman

Dombey

Professor of Theoretical Physics at
Sussex University

Mr

Sergei

Dorenko

Broadcaster who conducted an
interview with AL about order to kill
Berezovsky

Dr

James

Down

Intensive care consultant, pronounced
AL dead on 23 November 2006

Mr

Yuri

Dubov

Present at Berezovsky’s office in July
2010 when he received T-shirt from
Lugovoy

Mr

Umar

Dzhabrailov

Chechen businessman. Alleged FSB
kidnap target

285

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr

Garym

Evans

Director of investigations at RISC.
Managed AL and met with him on
several occasions in latter half of 2005
but did not task AL with any enquiries

Mr

Yuri

Felshtinsky

Russian dissident, author and
historian. Assisted AL in leaving Russia

Mr

Raphael

Filinov

Delivered T-shirt from Lugovoy to
Berezovsky, July 2010

Mr

Paul

Fitzgerald

Entry clearance officer at British
Embassy in Moscow. Reviewed
Kovtun’s visa application dated
2 October 2006

Mr

Mark

Franchetti

Presenter of BBC 2’s This World.
Interviewed former KGB officer Mr
Kondaurov in 2007

Dr

Nicholas

Gent

Consultant in health protection
within HPA’s Emergency Response
Department. Involved in identifying and
analysing contaminated material

Dame

Elizabeth

Gloster

High Court judge who heard case
of Berezovsky v Abramovich [2012]
EWHC 2463 (Comm). Appointed a
Lady Justice of Appeal in 2013

Mr

Nikolai

Glushkov

Russian dissident, friend of
Berezovsky. Reported seeing Lugovoy
and Berezovsky at Berezovsky’s office
on a date between 26 October and
1 November 2006

Mr

Ahmed

Gochiyaev

Suspect in 1999 Moscow apartment
bombings. Rented basements in
buildings involved

Mr

Alex

Goldfarb

Russian dissident. Head of
International Foundation for Civil
Liberties. Close friend of Berezovsky
and AL. Assisted AL in leaving Russia

Mr

Vladimir

Golovlev

A founder of the Liberal Russia party,
shot in Moscow in 2002

Mr

Alexei

Gordeyev

Agriculture minister of the Russian
Federation in 2006. RISC tasked
AL with investigating Gordeyev and
Russian government’s apparent
corruption and involvement with
Stolichnaya vodka dispute

Mr

Oleg

Gordievsky

Former senior KGB officer, defected
and came to live in UK in 1985

286

Appendix 5 | Dramatis personae

Mr

Nikolay

Gorokov

Former project manager at EC03
Capital Limited, worked with Dr
Shadrin. Saw Lugovoy and Kovtun on
31 October at 58 Grosvenor Street,
subsequently saw Lugovoy in Dr
Shadrin’s office on 1 November 2006

Mr

Alexander

Gusak

AL’s immediate superior in 1996

Mr

Vladimir

Gusinsky

Russian media tycoon and former
Chairman of Board, majority
shareholder in ZAO Media Most, which
owned Russian NTV channel

Mr

Paolo

Guzzanti

Italian journalist. Chairman of
Parliamentary Mitrokhin Commission

Dr

John

Harrison

Radiation protection scientist, HPA.
Involved in identifying and analysing
contaminated material

Dr

Rebecca

Hatjiosif

General Practitioner at AL’s local
surgery

Professor

John

Henry

Former consultant physician to
National Poisons Information Service
and Professor of Accident and
Emergency Medicine at St Mary’s
Hospital. Saw AL at UCH. (Deceased)

Ms

Inna

Hohne

Kovtun’s ex-wife. Married in 1991 and
divorced 1995

Mr

Drew

Holiner

Expert in Russian Law

Mr

John

Holmes

Director of Titon International (a
subsidiary of Erinys International) with
Dean Attew

Mr

Ivan

House

Official at the poisons unit

Mr

Keith

Hunter

CEO of RISC, met AL on several
occasions but not directly involved in
giving work to AL

Mr

Brent

Hyatt

Detective Inspector in 2006.
Interviewed AL in hospital

Mr

Lecha

Islamov

Prisoner in Lefortovo prison in
Moscow. Died of suspected poisoning
in 2004

Mr

Sergei

Ivanov

Deputy Head of FSB in 1998, Russian
Defence Minister, March 2001 to
February 2007. Deputy Prime Minister,
November 2005 to February 2007

Mr

Viktor

Ivanov

President Vladimir Putin’s assistant in
2006

287

The Litvinenko Inquiry

DCI

Mike

Jolly

Detective Sergeant in 2006. Involved
in investigation of AL’s murder

President

Ramzan

Kadyrov

Former President of Chechnya

Mr

AP

Kamyshnyikov

FSB officer who allegedly gave AL
order to kill Berezovsky

Mr

Ibn

Khattab

Islamist guerrilla leader killed by
poisoned letter in 2004

Mr

Mikhail

Khodorkovsky

Former CEO of Yukos. Opposed Putin
and Kremlin. Imprisoned from 2003 to
2013, currently exiled in Switzerland

General

Evgeny

Khokholkov

Head of URPO in 1997/8 when AL
and colleagues received order to kill
Berezovsky

Mr

Viktor

Kirov

Purportedly from Russian Embassy.
Repeatedly visited AL at his home in
2001/2. AL alleged that Kirov was the
Russian agent in charge of monitoring
him

Mr

Paul

Knott

Official at British Embassy in Moscow

Mr

Cliff

Knuckey

Managing Director of RISC. First
met AL in 2004 when he investigated
firebombing of AL and Zakayev’s
homes. Decided RISC should use AL
as a source in 2005

Kondaurov

Former KGB officer interviewed by
Mark Franchetti in 2007

Mr
Mr

Igor

Korol

Semion Mogilevich’s ‘Lieutenant’

Mr

Alexander

Korzhakov

Former KBG general and head of FSS
from 1993 to 1996 whilst Lugovoy
worked for FSS

Mr

Nikolay

Kovalyev

Head of FSB in 1998

Mr

Sergei

Kovalyov

Russian human rights activist and
politician, and former Soviet dissident
and political prisoner. In 2002,
organised commission to investigate
1999 Moscow apartment bombings

Mr

Dmitri

Kovtun

Suspected of causing the death of AL

Mr

Goran

Krgo

Manager, Best Western Shaftesbury
Hotel

Mr

Leonid

Kuchma

President of Ukraine from 19 July 1994
to 23 January 2005

Mr

Vladimir

Kumarin (aka
Barsukov)

Leader of Tambov criminal gang in St
Petersburg

288

Appendix 5 | Dramatis personae

Mr

David

Leppard

Journalist to whom AL gave an
interview from his bed in UCH

Mr

Evgheniy

Limarev

Former employee of SVR (Russian
foreign intelligence service), worked at
Balashika KGB/SVR training centre.
Former director of Belconti, owned by
Nordex

Mr

Vlad

Listyev

Popular TV presenter and head of
OTR television station. Murdered in
March 1995

Mr

Alexander
Sasha)

(aka Litvinenko

Mr

Alexander

Litvinenko

AL’s elder son

Mr

Anatoly

Litvinenko

Son of AL and a core participant in the
Inquiry

Mrs

Marina

Litvinenko

Wife of AL and a core participant in the
Inquiry

Mr

Maxim

Litvinenko

Half-brother of AL

Mrs

Natalia

Litvinenko

First wife of AL

Mrs

Nina

Litvinenko

Mother of AL

Ms

Sonya

Litvinenko

Daughter of AL

Mr

Walter

Litvinenko

Father of AL

Mr

Yuri

Livshitz

Leader of a criminal group in Russia
who allegedly attempted to illegally
transfer licences and bribed Russian
government officials

Mr

Andrey

Lugovoy

Suspected of causing the death of AL

Miss

Galina

Lugovoya

Daughter of Lugovoy

Mr

Igor

Lugovoy

Son of Lugovoy

Mrs

Svetlana

Lugovoya

Wife of Lugovoy

Miss

Tatiana

Lugovoya

Daughter of Lugovoy

Mr

Alexander

Malyshev

Leader of Tambov criminal group in
St Petersburg

Mr

Mikhail

Marov

AL’s lawyer in Russia

DI

Craig

Mascall

Detective Inspector involved in
investigating AL’s death

Mr

Nikolai

Melnychenko

Former bodyguard to Leonid Kuchma,
involved in tapping Presidential Office

Mr

George

Menzies

AL’s solicitor. Involved in drafting
deathbed statement

The deceased subject of the Report

289

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mrs

Valentina

Michenina

Friend of Marina Litvinenko. Took
sample of AL’s hair

Mr

Vasili

Mitrokhin

Former KGB archivist who defected to
the UK in 1992

Mr

Semion

Mogilevich

Head of Nordex energy company. One
of FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’
and was investigated by ECPP

Mr

Nigel

Moughton

Entry Clearance Officer at the
British Embassy in Moscow in 2006.
Interviewed Lugovoy on 6 June 2006
regarding visa application

Mr

Akram

Murtazaev

Russian journalist involved in the
writing of the book The Gang from the
Lubyanka

Professor

Amit

Nathwani

Consultant haematologist and AL’s
consultant at UCL

Mr

Boris

Nemtsov

Russian politician and critic of
President Putin. Assassinated
27 February 2015 in Moscow

Mr

David

Nicholson

Team Leader for Radioactive
Substances Regulations in London
and South East England and technical
specialist for the Environment Agency’s
Head Office Radioactive Substances
Team. Gave evidence on regulation of
storage and use of polonium 210

Mr

Gennadiy

Onishchenko

Former Russian chief public health
officer

Mr

Arkady (aka
Badri)

Patarkatsishvili

Georgian businessman, friend and
business partner of Berezovsky.
Employed Lugovoy to provide personal
security. Met with Lugovoy and
Vladimir Voronoff at wife’s home in late
October 2006

Mr

Nikolai

Patrushev

Head of FSB in 2006

Mr

Alexander

Perepilichny

Russian businessman who died under
mysterious circumstances in the UK
in November 2012, after fleeing from
Russia in 2009

Mr

Radoslaw
Michal

Pietras

Marina Wall’s boyfriend

Mr

Sergei

Ploshkin

Superior officer to Alexei Potemkin

Ms

Anna

Politkovskaya

Russian political journalist (deceased)

290

Appendix 5 | Dramatis personae

Mr

Marti

Pompadour

Attended meeting on 26 October 2006
with Patarkatsishvili, Lugovoy and
Voronoff

Mr

Andrei

Ponkin

Former URPO colleague of AL

Mr

Alexei

Potemkin

Major in the FSB. Alleged part of the
transportation chain for polonium used
to poison AL

Mr

Yuri

Prikazchikov

Russian-qualified doctor. Saw AL on
3 November 2006 at Marina
Litvinenko’s request

Mr

Romano

Prodi

Former Prime Minister of Italy.
Mitrokhin Commission alleged he was
“KGB’s man in Italy”

President

Vladimir

Putin

Formerly Head of FSB, now President
of Russia

Mr

Daniel

Quirke

Investigator at RISC. Managed AL from
February/March 2006 when Garym
Evans left. Tasked AL with enquiries
into Mr Gordeyev (Russian Agriculture
Minister) in first quarter of 2006

Mr

Tim

Reilly

Consultant to Erinys UK. Met AL
frequently between mid 2006 and
November 2006. Met with Lugovoy
and AL in June/July and on 16 October
2006

Ms

Giuliana

Rondoni

Front of House Manager, Parkes Hotel

Mr

Evgeny

Savostianov

President Yeltsin’s Deputy Chief of
Staff

Mr

Mario

Scaramella

Consultant to Mitrokhin Commission
and worked for Environmental Crime
Prevention Programme with AL’s
assistance

Ms

Emma

Schofield

Ambulance technician, attended AL on
3 November 2006

DC

Spencer

Scott

Detective Constable at Gatwick Airport.
Stopped and questioned Lugovoy and
Kovtun on 16 October 2006 on arrival
at Gatwick

Mr

Igor

Sechin

Deputy Chief of President Putin’s
Administration from December 1999 to
May 2008

Professor

Robert

Service

Expert witness. Professor of Russian
History at Oxford University

Dr

Alexander

Shadrin

Acting CEO of Continental Petroleum
Ltd
291

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr

Yuri

Shchekochikhin Journalist who wrote about corruption
in URPO. Died of apparent poisoning
in 2003

Mr

Victor

Shebalin

Former colleague of AL in FSB

Mr

Roman

Shubin

Investigator from the Ukranian
Prosecutor’s Office. Involved in
investigating ‘Kuchma tapes’

Mr

Kirill

Shubskiy

Subject of due diligence report which
AL and Yuri Shvets submitted to Titon
International on 31 October 2006

Mr

Egor

Shuppe

Berezovsky’s son-in-law

Mr

Yuri

Shvets

Worked on due diligence reports with
AL in mid 2006

Mr

Martin

Sixsmith

British radio and television presenter,
author of The Litvinenko File

Mr

Alan

Slater

Former Detective Sergeant and part
of team sent to Moscow to interview
Lugovoy and Kovtun in December
2006

Mr

Viacheslav

Sokolenko

Business associate of Lugovoy.
Travelled to London with Lugovoy and
family on 31 October 2006

Dr

Julia

Svetlichnaya

PhD student in 2006 researching
radical politics, met AL on several
occasions between April and May 2006

Dr

Benjamin

Swift

Forensic pathologist. Assisted Dr Cary
with AL’s post mortem

Mr

Alexander

Tabunov

Friend of AL. Worked on a market stall
in St James’s, Piccadilly in 2006

Mr

Alexander

Talik

Russian living in Naples, alleged
former FSB officer

Mr

Brian

Tarpey

Detective Inspector involved in
interviews of Lugovoy and Kovtun in
Moscow in 2006

Mr

Alexander

Tarrenets

Former deputy director of security for
Transaero

Mr

Khanpasha

Terkibayev

Alleged FSB ‘agent provocateur’.
Took part in Moscow theatre hostage
crisis in 2002. Interviewed by Anna
Politkovskaya who alleged FSB
involvement. Killed in car crash

292

Appendix 5 | Dramatis personae

Mr

Vladimir

Terluk

Russian who moved to UK in 1999
and sought asylum. Gave information
in 2003 to AL which suggested that
Berezovsky may be in danger. Second
defendant in libel claim by Berezovsky
in 2007

Mr

Clive

Timmons

Former Detective Superintendent,
involved in investigating AL’s poisoning

Ms

Elena

Tregubova

Writer and journalist, critic of President
Putin. Survived murder attempt in
February 2004 and had protection from
Lugovoy, organised by Berezovsky.
Spoke to Lugovoy twice on 1
November 2006

Mr

Mikhail

Trepashkin

Former FSB officer and friend of AL

Mr

Anatoly

Trofimov

Head of Moscow Regional Directorate
of FSB

Ms

Gemma

Trout

Ward Sister, Barnet Hospital. In charge
of haematology ward T16 south on
which AL was a patient

Mr

Roman

Tsepov

Died in 2004 with similar symptoms to
AL

Mr

Alexey

Valuev

Son of Vladimir Valuev, friend of
Lugovoy. Saw Lugovoy on 17 October
and 1 November

Mr

Andrei

Vasiliev

Editor of the Russian newspaper
Kommersant

Dr

Andres

Virchis

Consultant haematologist and AL’s
consultant at Barnet Hospital

Mr

Vladimir

Voronkov

Berezovsky’s office manager

Mr

Vladimir

Voronoff

Business associate of Lugovoy in
London

Dr

Elenora

Wall

Kovtun’s ex-mother-in-law and Marina
Wall’s mother

Ms

Marina

Wall

Kovtun’s ex-wife. Married in 1996 and
separated in 2002

Mr

Zelinkhan

Yandarbiev

Chechen Vice President killed in 2004

Mr

Boris

Yeltsin

President of Russia from July 1991 to
December 1999

Mr

Viktor

Yuschenko

Ukranian presidential candidate
poisoned in 2004

293

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Mr

Sergei

Yushenkov

Russian MP who co-sponsored an
inquiry into AL’s corruption allegations
against URPO. Shot and killed in
Moscow in 2003

Mr

Akhmed

Zakayev

Exiled former senior official/
government minister in Chechen
Republic of Ichkeria and close friend
and neighbour of AL

Mr

Vladimir

Zhironovsky

Leader of the Liberal Democratic
Party in Russia who described AL as a
scoundrel and a traitor

294

Appendix 6: Abbreviations

AWE

Atomic Weapons Establishment

BA

British Airways

BBC

British Broadcasting Corporation

CCTV

closed-circuit television

CEO

Chief Executive Officer

CIA

Central Intelligence Agency (US)

CP

core participant

CPL

Continental Petroleum Limited

CPR

cardiopulmonary resuscitation

CPS

Crown Prosecution Service

CQT

Control Question Technique

DC

Detective Constable

DCI

Detective Chief Inspector

DI

Detective Inspector

DNA

deoxyribonucleic acid

DS

Detective Sergeant

ECG

electrocardiograph

ECPP

Environmental Crime Prevention Programme

EU

European Union

FBI

Federal Bureau of Investigation (US)

FPS

Federal Protection Service (RF)

FSB

Federal Security Service (RF)

FSK

Federal Counterintelligence Service (RF)

G8

Group of 8 forum

GBq

gigabecquerel

GOS

Government of Spain

GP

General Practitioner

GRU

Military Intelligence Directorate (RF)

HMG

Her Majesty’s Government

HPA

Health Protection Agency

IAEA

International Atomic Energy Agency

ICO

International Coffee Organisation

ICRF

Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation

ICU

intensive care unit
295

The Litvinenko Inquiry

IMO

International Maritime Organisation

IP

interested person

KeV

kiloelectron volt

KGB

Committee for State Security (USSR)

MI5

Security Service (UK)

MI6

Secret Intelligence Service (UK)

MP

Member of Parliament

MPS

Metropolitan Police Service

NCND

neither confirm nor deny

ORT

Public Russian Television Channel

PHE

Public Health England

PII

public interest immunity

Po-210

polonium 210

RCJ

Royal Courts of Justice

RF

Russian Federation

RSR

Russian State responsibility

RTR

Russian Television and Radio

SPAG

Saint Petersburg Real Estate Holding Company

SVR

Foreign Intelligence Service (RF)

UCH

University College Hospital

UEFA

Union of European Football Associations

UK

United Kingdom

URPO

Department for Investigation and Prevention of Organised Crime (RF)

US

United States

USA

United States of America

USSR

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

296

Appendix 7:

Restriction Notices and Orders

RESTRICTION NOTICE No. 1
Introduction

1

This Restriction Notice is made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 (“the Act”).

2

For the purposes of this Restriction Notice, references to:

a. “the Inquiry” are references to the “Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry”;
b. “the Chairman” is a reference to the person appointed by the Minister to chair the
Inquiry under section 4 of the Act, namely Sir Robert Owen;
c. “the Minister” is a reference to the Secretary of State for the Home Department
and, after the setting up of the Inquiry, to such other Government officials as are
nominated by the Minister;
d. “Core Inquiry Team” is a reference to the Chairman, counsel to the Inquiry, the
solicitor to the Inquiry and such other persons as are agreed between the Minister
and the Chairman and identified as such in writing;
e. “HMG advisers” is a reference to counsel and solicitors, instructed on behalf of Her
Majesty’s Government, and such other Government officials as are nominated by
the Minister;
f.

“relevant witnesses” are references to witnesses whom the Chairman directs
should be called to give evidence in a closed hearing as described in paragraphs
9 to 12 below; and

g. “open rulings, judgments or reports” are references to rulings, judgments or
reports produced by the Chairman in the course, or at the conclusion, of the
Inquiry which may be released to the public without risking harm to the public
interest.
h. “Closed hearings” are hearings of the Inquiry to which paragraphs 9 to 14 below
apply.
3

This Restriction Notice is to be read as imposing no restriction on the disclosure of
any document or information:
a. between members of the Core Inquiry Team for purposes connected with the
Inquiry; or
b. to the Minister or HMG advisers.

297

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Restrictions on the Disclosure or Publication of Evidence or Documents
given, produced or provided to the Inquiry
4

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 5 and 7 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.

5

Otherwise than as is permitted by this Notice, no person, whether a member of the
Core Inquiry Team or otherwise, may disclose or publish to any other person the
Schedule to this Notice or any of the information contained in the documents identified
in the Schedule to this Notice (“the Schedule material”). The Schedule to this Notice
and the Schedule material are or refer to material which (i) was the subject of the
Public Interest Immunity certificate issued by the Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs and dated 7 February 2013 or (ii) had previously been shown
to HM Assistant Coroner for Inner North West London during the course of the inquest
into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

6

HMG advisers may disclose the contents of parts of the material referred to in the
Schedule to this Notice to such other individuals and for such purposes as are
identified in writing by the Minister to the Chairman.

7

Save with the written agreement of the Minister, no reference shall be made by the
Chairman to the Schedule material in any open ruling, judgment or report arising out
of the Inquiry, or otherwise, unless it has been removed from the scope of this Notice
by means of a letter under paragraph 15 below.

Restrictions on Attendance at the Inquiry or part of the Inquiry
8

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 9, 12, 13 and 14 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.

9

Save with the written consent of the Minister, no person, other than the Core Inquiry
Team, HMG advisers and any relevant witness, may attend any hearing of the Inquiry
at which any of the Schedule material is to be considered or referred to, or at which
there is, in the judgment of the Chairman, any significant risk of reference being made
to such material.

10

Hearings at which such material may be considered or referred to, and which are
subject to such restrictions, are to be referred to as “closed hearings”.

11

The Minister may give consent, in accordance with paragraph 8 above, to the
attendance at a closed hearing of persons other than those identified in paragraph 9,
where the person concerned is a legal representative of the witness, the Chairman
298

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

indicates in writing that the attendance of the person is necessary, and arrangements
are in place which the Minister considers adequate to ensure that the public interest
in preventing the disclosure of the Schedule material is not damaged.
12

No person shall produce or show to any witness any of the Schedule material, or
ask any questions which tend to reveal the existence or content of such material,
otherwise than in accordance with a procedure formulated by the Core Inquiry Team
and agreed in writing by the Minister.

13

The Chairman shall ensure that no transcript of the evidence given at a closed hearing
is made available to any person other than the Minister, members of the Core Inquiry
Team or HMG advisers.

14

The Chairman shall ensure that no reference is made to the substance of the evidence
given at a closed hearing of the Inquiry in any open ruling, judgment or report arising
out of the Inquiry, or otherwise.

Amendments to this Restriction Notice
15

By letter to the Chairman under this paragraph the Minister may remove from the
scope of this Notice any document or information referred to in the Schedule.

16

The Chairman may invite the Minister to amend this Restriction Notice at any time
upon providing the Minister with a draft of the proposed amendment and written
reasons for it.

17

The Minister may amend this Restriction Notice at any time.

7 July 2014

(as amended 21 January 2015)

299

The Litvinenko Inquiry

RESTRICTION NOTICE No. 2

Introduction

1

This Restriction Notice is made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 (“the Act”).

2

For the purposes of this Restriction Notice, references to:

a. “the Inquiry” are references to the “Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry”;
b. “the Chairman” is a reference to the person appointed by the Minister to chair the
Inquiry under section 4 of the Act, namely Sir Robert Owen;
c. “the Minister” is a reference to the Secretary of State for the Home Department
and, after the setting up of the Inquiry, to such other Government officials as are
nominated by the Minister;
d. “Core Inquiry Team” is a reference to the Chairman, counsel to the Inquiry, the
solicitor to the Inquiry and such other persons as are agreed between the Minister
and the Chairman and identified as such in writing;
e. “HMG advisers” is a reference to counsel and solicitors, instructed on behalf of Her
Majesty’s Government, and such other Government officials as are nominated by
the Minister;
f.

“relevant witnesses” are references to witnesses whom the Chairman directs
should be called to give evidence in a closed hearing as described in paragraphs
9 to 12 below; and

g. “open rulings, judgments or reports” are references to rulings, judgments or
reports produced by the Chairman in the course, or at the conclusion, of the
Inquiry which may be released to the public without risking harm to the public
interest.
h. “Closed hearings” are hearings of the Inquiry to which paragraphs 9 to 14 below
apply.
3

This Restriction Notice is to be read as imposing no restriction on the disclosure of
any document or information:
a. between members of the Core Inquiry Team for purposes connected with the
Inquiry; or
b. to the Minister or HMG advisers.

Restrictions on the Disclosure or Publication of Evidence or Documents
given, produced or provided to the Inquiry
4

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 5 and 7 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
300

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.
5

Otherwise than as is permitted by this Notice, no person, whether a member of the
Core Inquiry Team or otherwise, may disclose or publish to any other person the
Schedule to this Notice or any of the information contained in the documents identified
in the Schedule to this Notice (“the Schedule material”).

6

HMG advisers may disclose the contents of parts of the material referred to in the
Schedule to this Notice to such other individuals and for such purposes as are
identified in writing by the Minister to the Chairman.

7

Save with the written agreement of the Minister, no reference shall be made by the
Chairman to the Schedule material in any open ruling, judgment or report arising out
of the Inquiry, or otherwise, unless it has been removed from the scope of this Notice
by means of a letter under paragraph 15 below.

Restrictions on Attendance at the Inquiry or part of the Inquiry
8

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 9, 12, 13 and 14 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.

9

Save with the written consent of the Minister, no person, other than the Core Inquiry
Team, HMG advisers and any relevant witness, may attend any hearing of the Inquiry
at which any of the Schedule material is to be considered or referred to, or at which
there is, in the judgment of the Chairman, any significant risk of reference being made
to such material.

10

Hearings at which such material may be considered or referred to, and which are
subject to such restrictions, are to be referred to as “closed hearings”.

11

The Minister may give consent, in accordance with paragraph 8 above, to the
attendance at a closed hearing of persons other than those identified in paragraph 9,
where the person concerned is a legal representative of the witness, the Chairman
indicates in writing that the attendance of the person is necessary, and arrangements
are in place which the Minister considers adequate to ensure that the public interest
in preventing the disclosure of the Schedule material is not damaged.

12

No person shall produce or show to any witness any of the Schedule material, or
ask any questions which tend to reveal the existence or content of such material,
otherwise than in accordance with a procedure formulated by the Core Inquiry Team
and agreed in writing by the Minister.

13

The Chairman shall ensure that no transcript of the evidence given at a closed hearing
is made available to any person other than the Minister, members of the Core Inquiry
Team or HMG advisers.

301

The Litvinenko Inquiry

14

The Chairman shall ensure that no reference is made to the substance of the evidence
given at a closed hearing of the Inquiry in any open ruling, judgment or report arising
out of the Inquiry, or otherwise.

Amendments to this Restriction Notice
15

By letter to the Chairman under this paragraph the Minister may remove from the
scope of this Notice any document or information referred to in the Schedule.

16

The Chairman may invite the Minister to amend this Restriction Notice at any time
upon providing the Minister with a draft of the proposed amendment and written
reasons for it.

17

The Minister may amend this Restriction Notice at any time.

4 November 2014

(as amended 21 January 2015)

302

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

RESTRICTION NOTICE No. 3

Introduction

1

This Restriction Notice is made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 (“the Act”).

2

For the purposes of this Restriction Notice, references to:

a. “the Inquiry” are references to the “Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry”;
b. “the Chairman” is a reference to the person appointed by the Minister to chair the
Inquiry under section 4 of the Act, namely Sir Robert Owen;
c. “the Minister” is a reference to the Secretary of State for the Home Department
and, after the setting up of the Inquiry, to such other Government officials as are
nominated by the Minister;
d. “Core Inquiry Team” is a reference to the Chairman, counsel to the Inquiry, the
solicitor to the Inquiry and such other persons as are agreed between the Minister
and the Chairman and identified as such in writing;
e. “HMG advisers” is a reference to counsel and solicitors, instructed on behalf of Her
Majesty’s Government, and such other Government officials as are nominated by
the Minister;
f.

“relevant witnesses” are references to witnesses whom the Chairman directs
should be called to give evidence in a closed hearing as described in paragraphs
9 to 12 below; and

g. “open rulings, judgments or reports” are references to rulings, judgments or
reports produced by the Chairman in the course, or at the conclusion, of the
Inquiry which may be released to the public without risking harm to the public
interest.
h. “Closed hearings” are hearings of the Inquiry to which paragraphs 9 to 14 below
apply.
3

This Restriction Notice is to be read as imposing no restriction on the disclosure of
any document or information:
a. between members of the Core Inquiry Team for purposes connected with the
Inquiry; or
b. to the Minister or HMG advisers.

Restrictions on the Disclosure or Publication of Evidence or Documents
given, produced or provided to the Inquiry
4

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 5 and 7 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
303

The Litvinenko Inquiry

considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.
5

Otherwise than as is permitted by this Notice, no person, whether a member of the
Core Inquiry Team or otherwise, may disclose or publish to any other person the
Schedule to this Notice or any of the information contained in the documents identified
in the Schedule to this Notice (“the Schedule material”).

6

HMG advisers may disclose the contents of parts of the material referred to in the
Schedule to this Notice to such other individuals and for such purposes as are
identified in writing by the Minister to the Chairman.

7

Save with the written agreement of the Minister, no reference shall be made by the
Chairman to the Schedule material in any open ruling, judgment or report arising out
of the Inquiry, or otherwise, unless it has been removed from the scope of this Notice
by means of a letter under paragraph 15 below.

Restrictions on Attendance at the Inquiry or part of the Inquiry
8

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 9, 12, 13 and 14 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.

9

Save with the written consent of the Minister, no person, other than the Core Inquiry
Team, HMG advisers and any relevant witness, may attend any hearing of the Inquiry
at which any of the Schedule material is to be considered or referred to, or at which
there is, in the judgment of the Chairman, any significant risk of reference being made
to such material.

10

Hearings at which such material may be considered or referred to, and which are
subject to such restrictions, are to be referred to as “closed hearings”.

11

The Minister may give consent, in accordance with paragraph 8 above, to the
attendance at a closed hearing of persons other than those identified in paragraph 9,
where the person concerned is a legal representative of the witness, the Chairman
indicates in writing that the attendance of the person is necessary, and arrangements
are in place which the Minister considers adequate to ensure that the public interest
in preventing the disclosure of the Schedule material is not damaged.

12

No person shall produce or show to any witness any of the Schedule material, or
ask any questions which tend to reveal the existence or content of such material,
otherwise than in accordance with a procedure formulated by the Core Inquiry Team
and agreed in writing by the Minister.

13

The Chairman shall ensure that no transcript of the evidence given at a closed hearing
is made available to any person other than the Minister, members of the Core Inquiry
Team or HMG advisers.

304

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

14

The Chairman shall ensure that no reference is made to the substance of the evidence
given at a closed hearing of the Inquiry in any open ruling, judgment or report arising
out of the Inquiry, or otherwise.

Amendments to this Restriction Notice
15

By letter to the Chairman under this paragraph the Minister may remove from the
scope of this Notice any document or information referred to in the Schedule.

16

The Chairman may invite the Minister to amend this Restriction Notice at any time
upon providing the Minister with a draft of the proposed amendment and written
reasons for it.

17

The Minister may amend this Restriction Notice at any time.

9 March 2015

305

The Litvinenko Inquiry

RESTRICTION NOTICE No. 4
Introduction

1

This Restriction Notice is made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 (“the Act”).

2

For the purposes of this Restriction Notice, references to:

a. “the Inquiry” are references to the “Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry”;
b. “the Chairman” is a reference to the person appointed by the Minister to chair the
Inquiry under section 4 of the Act, namely Sir Robert Owen;
c. “the Minister” is a reference to the Secretary of State for the Home Department
and, after the setting up of the Inquiry, to such other Government officials as are
nominated by the Minister;
d. “Core Inquiry Team” is a reference to the Chairman, counsel to the Inquiry, the
solicitor to the Inquiry and such other persons as are agreed between the Minister
and the Chairman and identified as such in writing;
e. “HMG advisers” is a reference to counsel and solicitors, instructed on behalf of Her
Majesty’s Government, and such other Government officials as are nominated by
the Minister;
f.

“relevant witnesses” are references to witnesses whom the Chairman directs
should be called to give evidence in a closed hearing as described in paragraphs
9 to 12 below; and

g. “open rulings, judgments or reports” are references to rulings, judgments or
reports produced by the Chairman in the course, or at the conclusion, of the
Inquiry which may be released to the public without risking harm to the public
interest.
h. “Closed hearings” are hearings of the Inquiry to which paragraphs 9 to 14 below
apply.
3

This Restriction Notice is to be read as imposing no restriction on the disclosure of
any document or information:
a. between members of the Core Inquiry Team for purposes connected with the
Inquiry; or
b. to the Minister or HMG advisers.

Restrictions on the Disclosure or Publication of Evidence or Documents
given, produced or provided to the Inquiry
4

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 5 and 7 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
306

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.
5

Otherwise than as is permitted by this Notice, no person, whether a member of the
Core Inquiry Team or otherwise, may disclose or publish to any other person the
Schedule to this Notice or any of the information contained in the documents identified
in the Schedule to this Notice (“the Schedule material”).

6

HMG advisers may disclose the contents of parts of the material referred to in the
Schedule to this Notice to such other individuals and for such purposes as are
identified in writing by the Minister to the Chairman.

7

Save with the written agreement of the Minister, no reference shall be made by the
Chairman to the Schedule material in any open ruling, judgment or report arising out
of the Inquiry, or otherwise, unless it has been removed from the scope of this Notice
by means of a letter under paragraph 15 below.

Restrictions on Attendance at the Inquiry or part of the Inquiry
8

The restrictions referred to at paragraphs 9, 12, 13 and 14 below are imposed:
(i) as being required by the rule of law known as public interest immunity; and/or
(ii) because the Minister, acting in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Act
and having had regard, in particular, to the matters set out in s19(4) of the Act,
considers it to be conducive to the Inquiry fulfilling its terms of reference and/or
necessary in the public interest that such restrictions should be imposed.

9

Save with the written consent of the Minister, no person, other than the Core Inquiry
Team, HMG advisers and any relevant witness, may attend any hearing of the Inquiry
at which any of the Schedule material is to be considered or referred to, or at which
there is, in the judgment of the Chairman, any significant risk of reference being made
to such material.

10

Hearings at which such material may be considered or referred to, and which are
subject to such restrictions, are to be referred to as “closed hearings”.

11

The Minister may give consent, in accordance with paragraph 8 above, to the
attendance at a closed hearing of persons other than those identified in paragraph 9,
where the person concerned is a legal representative of the witness, the Chairman
indicates in writing that the attendance of the person is necessary, and arrangements
are in place which the Minister considers adequate to ensure that the public interest
in preventing the disclosure of the Schedule material is not damaged.

12

No person shall produce or show to any witness any of the Schedule material, or
ask any questions which tend to reveal the existence or content of such material,
otherwise than in accordance with a procedure formulated by the Core Inquiry Team
and agreed in writing by the Minister.

13

The Chairman shall ensure that no transcript of the evidence given at a closed hearing
is made available to any person other than the Minister, members of the Core Inquiry
Team or HMG advisers.

307

The Litvinenko Inquiry

14

The Chairman shall ensure that no reference is made to the substance of the evidence
given at a closed hearing of the Inquiry in any open ruling, judgment or report arising
out of the Inquiry, or otherwise.

Amendments to this Restriction Notice
15

By letter to the Chairman under this paragraph the Minister may remove from the
scope of this Notice any document or information referred to in the Schedule.

16

The Chairman may invite the Minister to amend this Restriction Notice at any time
upon providing the Minister with a draft of the proposed amendment and written
reasons for it.

17

The Minister may amend this Restriction Notice at any time.

29 June 2015

308

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

RESTRICTION ORDER

Witness Anonymity and Screening
1

There shall be no disclosure or publication of any information that identifies or tends
to identify the individuals referred to in paragraph 2 below, who were the subject
of anonymity orders made in the course of the Litvinenko inquest, and they shall
continue to be referred to using the initials listed in paragraph 2.

2

The individuals in question are:
a.

A3

b.

C2

c.

C3

d.

D3

e.

D6

f.

D7

3

In the event that A3 is required to attend and give evidence at the public hearing of
the Inquiry, his physical appearance will be concealed from the public, the media and
core participants, but not from the Chairman, Counsel to the Inquiry or Counsel for
the core participants.

4

Until further order, there shall be no disclosure or publication of any information that
identifies or tends to identify the individuals referred to in the inquest proceedings as
D1, D2 and C1 as the individuals who were previously referred to in that way; this is
to ensure that until further order there shall be no reference to the fact that they had
applied for anonymity. For the avoidance of doubt, this order does not prevent the
disclosure or publication of the identities of those individuals in the absence of any link
to their previous pseudonyms.

This Order is made under section 19(1) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all members of
the public, including Core Participants.
In the case of public authorities, the restrictions specified in this Order take effect subject to
the terms of section 20(6) of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Any person affected by this Order may apply in accordance with section 20 of the Inquiries
Act 2005 to vary its terms.

Sir Robert Owen
9 October 2014

309

The Litvinenko Inquiry

RESTRICTION ORDER

Witness Anonymity and Screening
1

There shall be no disclosure or publication of any information that identifies or tends
to identify the individual referred to in these proceedings as A1. In the event that A1 is
required to attend and give evidence at the public hearing of the Inquiry, her physical
appearance will be concealed from the public, the media and core participants, but
not from the Chairman, Counsel to the Inquiry or Counsel for the core participants.

2

In the event that the individuals referred to in these proceedings as C2, C3, D3,
D6 and D7 are required to attend and give evidence at the public hearing of the
Inquiry, their physical appearance will be concealed from the public, the media and
core participants, but not from the Chairman, Counsel to the Inquiry or Counsel for
the core participants.

This Order is made under section 19(1) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all members of
the public, including Core Participants.
In the case of public authorities, the restrictions specified in this Order take effect subject to
the terms of section 20(6) of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Any person affected by this Order may apply in accordance with section 20 of the Inquiries
Act 2005 to vary its terms.

Sir Robert Owen
14 November 2014

310

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

RESTRICTION ORDER
Witness Anonymity and Screening
1

There shall be no disclosure or publication of any information that identifies or tends
to identify the individual who will be referred to henceforth in these proceedings as
D9. D9’s identity is stated in the Annex to this Order, which will be served on core
participants only. In the event that D9 is required to attend and give evidence at the
public hearing of the Inquiry, his physical appearance will be concealed from the
public, the media and core participants, but not from the Chairman, Counsel to the
Inquiry, Counsel for the core participants or security cleared inquiry staff.

2

The screening orders dated 9 October 2014 (made in relation to A3) and 14 November
2014 (made in relation to A1 and also in relation to C2, C3, D3, D6 and D7) are varied
so that in the event the said individuals give evidence, their physical appearance will
not be concealed from security cleared inquiry staff.

This Order is made under section 19(1) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all members of
the public, including Core Participants.
In the case of public authorities, the restrictions specified in this Order take effect subject to
the terms of section 20(6) of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Any person affected by this Order may apply in accordance with section 20 of the Inquiries
Act 2005 to vary its terms.

Sir Robert Owen
27 November 2014

311

The Litvinenko Inquiry

RESTRICTION ORDER

Witness Anonymity and Screening
The screening orders dated 9 October 2014 (made in relation to A3), 14 November 2014
(made in relation to A1 and also in relation to C2, C3, D3, D6 and D7) and 27 November
2014 (made in relation to D9) are varied so that in the event that the said individuals give
evidence, their physical appearance need not be concealed from any other person whom
the Chairman directs.
This Order is made under section 19(1) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all members of
the public, including Core Participants.
In the case of public authorities, the restrictions specified in this Order take effect subject to
the terms of section 20(6) of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Any person affected by this Order may apply in accordance with section 20 of the Inquiries
Act 2005 to vary its terms.

Sir Robert Owen
28 January 2015

312

Appendix 7 | Restriction Notices and Orders

RESTRICTION ORDER

Evidence of Witness G
Further to an application for anonymity received from Witness G, I made a provisional ruling
in favour of granting him this by means of a Restriction Order. That provisional ruling is dated
25 September 2015 and was provided to Core Participants and media representatives on
that date so that they might make submissions upon it. I received no such submissions and
I now make the following order for the reasons set out in the provisional ruling.
1

There shall be no disclosure or publication of any information that identifies or tends
to identify Witness G.

2

Other than with the express written permission of the Chairman, there shall be no
disclosure or publication of the further evidence given by Witness G referred to in the
provisional ruling.

This Order is made under section 19(1) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all members of
the public, including Core Participants.
In the case of public authorities, the restrictions specified in this Order take effect subject to
the terms of section 20(6) of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Any person affected by this Order may apply in accordance with section 20 of the Inquiries
Act 2005 to vary its terms.

Sir Robert Owen
9 October 2015

313

The Litvinenko Inquiry

314

Appendix 8:

Key documents

Reference Description
(Analytical documents)
INQ017934

Radiation schedules

INQ017809

Telephone call schedules

INQ020044

Telephone call data 31 October – 3 November 2006

INQ017900

3D model images showing contamination at the itsu restaurant,
Piccadilly

INQ017906

3D model images showing contamination at the Millennium Hotel,
room 382

INQ017911

3D model images showing contamination at the Pine Bar,
Millennium Hotel

INQ017917

3D model images showing contamination at the Sheraton Hotel,
room 848

INQ017922

3D model images showing contamination at 4th floor,
25 Grosvenor Street

INQ017926

3D model images showing contamination at the Best Western Hotel,
room 107

INQ017931

3D model images showing contamination at the Best Western Hotel,
room 308

INQ018235

Maps showing locations of interest

INQ018243

Maps showing the movements of Alexander Litvinenko on
November 2006

INQ018252

Maps showing the movements of Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun
on 1 November 2006

(Expert reports, pathology, medical and scientific evidence)
INQ019031

Expert report by Professor Ray Bull, 4 December 2014

INQ019146

Expert report by Professor Robert Service, 8 January 2015

INQ020316

Supplemental report by Professor Robert Service, 4 March 2015

INQ020998

Corrections to report by Professor Robert Service, 19 March 2015

BLK000001

Coroner’s Interim Certificate of the Fact of Death, 9 February 2007

INQ003002

Witness statement of Dr Nathaniel Cary, 20 July 2007

INQ003187

Witness statement of Dr Benjamin Swift, 2 October 2007

INQ015541

GP medical notes of Alexander Litvinenko

INQ006741

Barnet Hospital medical file of Alexander Litvinenko

INQ006652

University College London Hospitals medical notes of
Alexander Litvinenko

INQ007478

Witness statement of A1, 18 January 2007
315

The Litvinenko Inquiry
INQ007516

Witness statement of A1, 18 April 2007

INQ007523

Witness statement of A1, 4 May 2007

INQ016403

Witness statement of A1, 26 June 2013

INQ022423

Witness statement of A1, 26 September 2015

INQ020222

Autoradiograph of one strand of hair

INQ017269

HPA joint paper titled Polonium 210 as a poison, 6 March 2007

INQ014961

HPA joint report titled Mr Litvinenko: Estimated radiation doses and
expected health effects following intake of Polonium-210, 26 April
2007

INQ016745

PHE joint report titled The evidence for the use of Polonium-210 to
poison Mr Litvinenko, 5 February 2014

(Evidence of Alexander and Marina Litvinenko)
INQ002076

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (1 of 18)

INQ002433

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (2 of 18)

INQ002450

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (3 of 18)

INQ002470

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (4 of 18)

INQ016528

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (5 of 18)

INQ016538

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (6 of 18)

INQ016549

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (7 of 18)

INQ016559

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (8 of 18)

INQ016570

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 18 November 2006 (9 of 18)

INQ016582

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 19 November 2006 (10 of 18)

INQ016593

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 19 November 2006 (11 of 18)

INQ016604

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 19 November 2006 (12 of 18)

INQ016615

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 19 November 2006 (13 of 18)

INQ016627

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 20 November 2006 (14 of 18)

INQ016638

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 20 November 2006 (15 of 18)

INQ016642

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 20 November 2006 (16 of 18)

INQ016652

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 20 November 2006 (17 of 18)

INQ016661

Interview of Alexander Litvinenko, 20 November 2006 (18 of 18)

INQ017399

Statement by Alexander Litvinenko, 21 November 2006

INQ019299

Photograph of Alexander Litvinenko in his hospital bed

INQ017734

Witness statement of Marina Litvinenko, 27 March 2013

316

Appendix 8 | Key documents

(Evidence of Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun)
INQ013787

Security report by DC Spencer Scott at Gatwick Airport,
16 October 2006

INQ002058

Declaration by Andrey Lugovoy, 23 November 2006

INQ002696

Declaration by Dmitri Kovtun, 23 November 2006

INQ001886

Transcript of the press conference of Andrey Lugovoy and
Dmitri Kovtun, 31 May 2007

INQ001788

Witness statement of Andrey Lugovoy in the Terluk case, 4 March
2011

INQ001842

Witness statement of Andrey Lugovoy in the Terluk case,
26 October 2011

INQ021208

Witness statement of Dmitri Kovtun, 2 June 2015

317

The Litvinenko Inquiry

318

Appendix 9:
Surname

List of witnesses

Forename

Title

Called/
Read

Hearing day

A1

Called

2; 20

C2

Called

24

D3

Read

30

D6

Called

30

D7

Read

30

Abdul

Yaragi

Mr

Called

17

Andrade

Noberto

Mr

Called

16

Attew

Dean

Mr

Called

13

Barlow

David

Mr

Called

23

Baxter

Nicholas

Mr

Read

17

Bell

Timothy

Lord

Called

6

Berezovsky

Boris

Mr

Read

25

Black

Stuart

Dr

Called

19

Bonetti

Bruno

Mr

Called

12

Bukovsky

Vladimir

Mr

Called

26

Bull

Ray

Professor

Called

21

Burgess

Bruce

Mr

Called

21

Burgess

Tristam

Mr

Called

21

Cary

Nathaniel

Dr

Called

2

Cole

Julia

Ms

Read

17

Cotlick

Michael

Mr

Called

25

Cunningham

Duncan

Mr

Called

16

Davison

Dariya

Mrs

Called

14

Dombey

Norman

Professor

Called

23

Down

James

Dr

Read

18

Evans

Garym

Mr

Called

7

Felshtinsky

Yuri

Mr

Called

23

Fitzgerald

Paul

Mr

Called

8

Gent

Nicholas

Dr

Called

19

Glushkov

Nikolai

Mr

Called

17

Goldfarb

Alex

Mr

Called

5; 26; 27

Gorokov

Nikolay

Mr

Called

13

319

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Guzzanti

Paolo

Mr

Called

29

Harrison

John

Dr

Called

19

Hatjiosif

Rebecca

Dr

Read

2

Henry

John

Professor

Read

18

Hohne

Inna

Ms

Read

32

Holmes

John

Mr

Called

7

Hunter

Keith

Mr

Called

11

Hyatt

Brent

DI

Called

4; 5

Jolly

Mike

DCI

Called

32

Knuckey

Cliff

Mr

Read

7

Kovtun

Dmitri

Mr

Read

32

Krgo

Goran

Mr

Called

9

Limarev

Evgheniy

Mr

Called

15

Litvinenko

Anatoly

Mr

Called

4

Litvinenko

Marina

Mrs

Called

3; 4

Litvinenko

Maxim

Mr

Read

32

Litvinenko

Walter

Mr

Read

32

Mascall

Craig

DI

Called

2; 8; 9; 11; 12; 13;
16; 17; 22; 23; 24;
29; 30

Menzies

George

Mr

Called

6

Michenina

Valentina

Mrs

Called

18

Moughton

Nigel

Mr

Called

8

Nathwani

Amit

Professor

Called

18

Nicholson

David

Mr

Called

23

Patarkatsishvili

Arkady (Badri)

Mr

Read

12

Prikazchikov

Yuri

Mr

Called

17

Quirke

Daniel

Mr

Called

11

Reilly

Tim

Mr

Called

10

Rondoni

Giuliana

Ms

Called

10

Scaramella

Mario

Mr

Called

15; 27

Schofield

Emma

Ms

Read

17

Scott

Spencer

DC

Called

9

Service

Robert

Professor

Called

28

Shadrin

Alexander

Dr

Called

14

Shvets

Yuri

Mr

Called

24

320

Appendix 9 | List of witnesses

Slater

Alan

Mr

Called

22

Svetlichnaya

Julia

Dr

Called

25

Swift

Benjamin

Dr

Called

2

Tabunov

Alexander

Mr

Called

13

Tarpey

Brian

Mr

Called

22

Timmons

Clive

Mr

Called

22

Tregubova

Elena

Ms

Read

29

Trout

Gemma

Ms

Called

18

Valuev

Alexey

Mr

Read

11

Virchis

Andres

Dr

Called

18

Voronkov

Vladimir

Mr

Called

16

Voronoff

Vladimir

Mr

Called

14

Wall

Elenora

Dr

Read

32

Wall

Marina

Ms

Read

32

Zakayev

Akhmed

Mr

Called

26

321

The Litvinenko Inquiry

322

Appendix 10:

List of Inquiry staff and

counsel

Counsel to the Inquiry
Lead Counsel to the Inquiry

Robin Tam QC

Counsel to the Inquiry

Hugh Davies OBE QC

Counsel to the Inquiry

Andrew O’Connor QC

Solicitor to the Inquiry
Solicitor to the Inquiry

Martin Smith

Assistant Solicitor

Abigail Scholefield

Paralegal

Amy Nicholls

Secretariat
Secretary to the Inquiry

Lee Hughes CBE

Deputy Secretary

Frances Currie

Press Officer

Mike Wicksteed

323

The Litvinenko Inquiry

324

Appendix 11: List of core participants and
legal representatives
Marina Litvinenko and Anatoly Litvinenko
Counsel

Ben Emmerson QC and Adam Straw

Solicitor

Elena Tsirlina (Blokh Solicitors)

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Counsel

Richard Horwell QC and Saba Naqshbandi

Solicitor

Jenny Leonard and Prit Mandair (Directorate of Legal Services)

Secretary of State for the Home Department
Counsel

Neil Garnham QC, Melanie Cumberland and Robert Wastell

Solicitor

Paul Bishop and Catherine Turtle (Government Legal Department)

AWE plc
Counsel

David Evans QC and Alasdair Henderson

Solicitor

Simon Ramsden (Government Legal Department)

Dmitri Kovtun
Counsel

none appointed

Solicitor

none appointed

325

The Litvinenko Inquiry

In addition, the following were designated interested persons in the inquest proceedings
which preceded the Inquiry but did not participate in the Inquiry itself.

Boris Berezovsky
Counsel

Hugo Keith QC

Solicitor

Lucy Middleton (Carter Ruck)

Andrey Lugovoy
Counsel

Tim Owen QC and Alison Macdonald

Solicitor

Yuri Botiuk (Pinsent Masons LLP)

Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation
Counsel

Patrick Gibbs QC and Claire Dobbin

Solicitor

Louis Castellani and Melanie Hart (Harbottle & Lewis LLP)

326

Appendix 12:

Closed appendices

327

The Litvinenko Inquiry

328